Big Ten says football cancellations due to COVID will be no contest
By: Mike Stiles - Friday, October 23, 2020

(UNDATED) - The Big Ten will determine whether to cancel games this year based on COVID-19 testing positivity rates within a team, and if a game can't be played, it will be deemed a "no contest," the conference announced on Thursday. The Big Ten, which begins its season at 8 PM ET on Friday when No. 14 Wisconsin hosts Illinois, is attempting to play an eight-game conference season in eight weeks, plus a ninth game for all 14 teams during Big Ten champions week the weekend of Dec. 19. In order to compete in the Big Ten championship game, a team must play at least six games, according to conference tiebreaker rules that were also released on Thursday. On Sept. 16, when the Big Ten announced its return this fall, the conference also released specific, color-coded guidelines of green, orange and red to follow when determining if practices or games can continue. If the test positivity rate for a team exceeds 5%, a "team must stop regular practice and competition for a minimum of seven days and reassess metrics until improved." If a game is canceled, it won't count as a win or loss for either team. Because of the league's truncated schedule, there is no flexibility or bye weeks built in, so conference officials have accounted for the possibility of unbalanced schedules in their lengthy tiebreaker policy. It is similar to that of the Pac-12, which was released earlier this week. The start of the Big Ten's season also coincides with spikes of positive coronavirus rates throughout the Midwest, but coaches and administrators throughout the conference have continued to express confidence in the Big Ten's daily antigen testing.