The Atlantic Coast Conference is changing its rescheduling policy to avoid assigning forfeits for teams unable to play due to COVID-19 protocols.
League athletic directors unanimously supported the change announced Wednesday. The decision comes amid the rise in COVID-19 cases and the increase in cancellations and postponements of basketball games nationally.
Games that cannot be played will be rescheduled if possible. If those games can’t be rescheduled, they will be considered a “no contest” that doesn’t affect a team’s record. The change is retroactive dating to the beginning of the winter-sports schedule, meaning it will remove recent forfeits for the Boston College men’s basketball team against Wake Forest and the Miami women’s basketball team against Duke.
Additionally, men’s and women’s teams must have a minimum of seven available players and one coach to play a game. If a team elects not to play despite having that available number, the game would then be considered a forfeit.
The Big 12 recently adjusted its policy as well. In an email to The Associated Press, league spokesman Bob Burda said it allows for a game to be considered a “no contest” if a team has fewer than six scholarship players and one coach. The league will attempt to reschedule games.
League spokespeople with the Big East, Southeastern and Mountain West conferences all said their leagues are evaluating policies, but no decisions have been made on potential changes. The Big Ten issued a statement saying it is also evaluating its forfeiture policy.
In football, No. 23 Texas A&M won’t play in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 31 because of COVID-19 issues and season-ending injuries, with coach Jimbo Fisher saying the Aggies “just don't have enough scholarship players available to field a team.”
At Alabama, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone have both tested positive for COVID-19 leading up to the College Football Playoff.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and head trainer Jeff Allen said in a joint statement that the two assistants “have very mild symptoms” and are isolating at home. The statement said they expect both O’Brien and Marrone to be available for the Cotton Bowl semifinal game against Cincinnati on Dec. 31.
Elsewhere, the George Washington men’s basketball game against Maryland-Eastern Shore scheduled for Wednesday was postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Colonials. The teams will work to reschedule the game.