Big Ten to Deem Any Canceled Games Due to COVID-19 “No Contest,” Teams Must Play At Least Six Games to Qualify for Championship Game

By Dan Hope on October 22, 2020 at 7:45 pm
2019 Big Ten Championship Game trophy

Any Big Ten football game canceled due to COVID-19 this season will be declared a “no contest.”

The Big Ten announced Thursday that if a game is unable to be played because either or both teams have a Test Positivity Rate (number of positive tests divided by total number of tests administered over a seven-day span) over 5% and a Population Positivity Rate (number of positive individuals divided by total team population) over 7.5%, that game will not count as a win or loss for either team.

The conference also announced updated tiebreaker procedures for the Big Ten Championship Game on Thursday, including a stipulation that a team must play at least six games to be eligible for the Big Ten Championship Game, unless the average number of regular-season games played by all conference teams falls below six. If the average falls below six, the minimum would then become two fewer games than the average (i.e. a minimum of four games if all Big Ten teams play an average of six games).

In the event of an unbalanced schedule due to canceled games, head-to-head results will take precedence over number of wins for teams for divisional teams that have the same number of losses, provided that team meets the minimum number of games. If the head-to-head game between those two teams was canceled, the next tiebreaker would be divisional winning percentage if the two teams have a different number of divisional losses.

In the event of a three (or more)-team tie between divisional teams with the same number of losses, the first tiebreaker would be winning percentage in games between the three or more teams, after which the next tiebreaker would be divisional winning percentage if at least two of the teams have a different number of divisional losses.

The Big Ten also announced Thursday that member institutions will be responsible for enforcing mask usage on sidelines by their teams, and that all athletic directors will be asked to engage in a weekly review process with the conference office to ensure compliance and adherence to the conference's facial covering protocol.

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