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COLLEGE HOOPS

Big Ten says it is evaluating policy on forfeits in midst of rising COVID-19 cases

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Sam Houston State vs. Nebraska, 11.12

Nebraska's C.J. Wilcher (right) is greeted by a fan as he runs onto the court before a game against Sam Houston State on Nov. 12 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

As the number of game postponements and cancellations begins to increase, conferences are beginning to revisit forfeiture policies.

That now includes the Big Ten.

The conference announced Wednesday that it's in the process of evaluating its policy for Big Ten game cancelations because of COVID-19.

"The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and our campus communities is our top priority," Dr. James Borchers, the Big Ten's chief medical officer, said in a statement. "We will continue to work diligently and collaboratively with the Big Ten Conference Administrators Council, chancellors and presidents, the Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the sports medicine committee to determine next steps."

The Big Ten's current policy states any conference game canceled because of COVID-19 will result in a forfeit and a loss for the team unable to play.

Forfeit victories, however, will not be recognized during the NCAA Tournament selection process.

The policy was put in place in the summer when COVID-19 numbers were down and vaccination numbers were up.

Since then, new COVID variants that are more transmissible have swept across the country and it's leading to some new challenges for professional and college sports.

Because of that, college conferences are revising their policies. The ACC and Big 12 announced they will now try to reschedule games affected by COVID.

According to a CBS report, more than 50 men's games had been canceled or postponed entering this week. Creighton was to play at DePaul on Monday, but virus issues within the DePaul program led to a forfeit victory for the Bluejays.

All but two Big Ten team men's basketball teams have played two conference games. There have been no forfeits, however, three Big Ten men's teams โ€” Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers โ€” are on pause due to rising COVID-19 cases within their programs. Each team canceled two nonconference games in recent days.

The NU men are currently scheduled to resume Big Ten play on Jan. 2 against Ohio State. The NU women will return to league action Dec. 30 at Michigan State.

The Nebraska men's and women's basketball programs have yet to have any games impacted by COVID-19.

The Husker volleyball team earned a win via forfeit against Rutgers because of illness issues within the Scarlet Knights' program.

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