While the silly “Horns Down” rule got significant attention at Big 12 Media Days this week, the league’s potential new policy for teams dealing with COVID-19 could play a much bigger role in how the season plays out. It also may make unvaccinated players and coaches think twice.
The Big 12 says it will not mandate vaccines for those in the league. However, it doesn’t sound like the league is planning to bend over backwards once again to reschedule games due to outbreaks.
Instead, according to Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor, teams may just have to forfeit games. In a sport where ever single game means so much, especially for national championship contenders like Oklahoma, that is a huge deal.
“We are probably not going to have the ability to not play games this season,” Taylor said Wednesday, via The Kansas City Star. “If you don’t play it on time, you will have to forfeit.”
Vaccine messaging strong on 1st day of Big 12 FB Media Days
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby: Get vaccinated https://t.co/iBh2CeXuY9
Teams with COVID-19 problems could forfeit games (by @KellisRobinett) https://t.co/w1gTycuaSg
— Blair Kerkhoff (@BlairKerkhoff) July 15, 2021
Last year, the Big 12 set up the schedule to allow for postponements and games shifted games. That is not the case this year, so teams will have to be very careful.
“We haven’t finalized that yet as a league, but that is where our thinking is at as athletic directors. We don’t have room. Last year, we had breaks in our schedule on purpose. This year, we won’t have the ability to make up those games.”
The vaccines have big a huge boost in the fight against COVID-19, though the current Delta variant has caused a spike in many areas where vaccination rates are low.
We’re lucky that we got in college football season last fall, but it is certainly not time for everyone to rest on their laurels now.