Thursday November 30, 2023

Handling Game Day

  • The SEC implemented a cancelation policy that assigns losses to schools who can't play due to COVID outbreaks.
  • It's up to schools how to handle fan safety, and they all have different policies.
Photo: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks
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The SEC and schools haven’t ignored the rapid spread of the Delta variant. Like other conferences, they’ve instituted a game cancelation policy. 

Though it is technically effective for “COVID-19, injuries or other reasons,” the SEC’s cancelation policy effectively punishes teams who sustain COVID outbreaks — similar to policies for several other FBS conferences.

If a team doesn’t have enough players available, the game will be canceled and that team “will be assigned a loss,” the conference announced on Aug. 30. The other team will receive a win.

If a game is canceled because neither team has enough players, they both receive losses.

But there’s no conference-wide policy for fan safety measures. At last night’s Vols game at Neyland Stadium, for example, there was no vaccine mandate for fans.

In some cases, COVID mitigation rules aren’t up to teams. Due to state law, the Florida Gators could be fined for requiring vaccines for entry to games. However, the athletic department is offering vaccines to fans before kickoff.

At Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, on the other hand, all fans 12 or older will have to show proof that they received at least one vaccine dose, or provide a negative PCR test from 72 hours before entering. The decision was because of “the significant threat presented by COVID-19 across the state of Louisiana due to the highly transmissible Delta variant,” according to the announcement.

It’s unclear, of course, whether LSU will be able to implement that policy at home games anytime soon — they’re playing in Los Angeles this weekend, and there’s no word yet on when they can return back to Baton Rouge in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

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