Commissioner George Kliavkoff says Pac-12 considering use of forfeit rule for Covid-19 outbreaks

The Pac-12 will consider having its teams forfeit games if they can’t play this fall because of COVID-19, new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN on Thursday, but the conference won’t make an official decision until August.

“I will tell you that I’m leaning towards going back to the pre-COVID rules that had a team that was not able to field enough players to forfeit the game,” Kliavkoff said. “Part of that is around the financial implications and who bears that. We read with interest the notes from commissioner [Roger] Goodell to the NFL teams that they’re going to treat it as a forfeit and financially penalize the team that is unable to play. I don’t know if we end up there or not, but that’s where we’re leaning. We’re not going to make any decisions without input from the ADs and football coaches.”

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo throughout the league this week threatening forfeits and the loss of game checks if an outbreak among unvaccinated players causes a disruption in the regular-season schedule. Earlier this week, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey also said his conference is considering forfeits as part of an effort to encourage vaccinations.

Kliavkoff said he’ll meet with Pac-12 athletic directors on Monday at the conference media days, and he also wants to speak with the medical directors on each campus before making a decision together.

“We’re not going to make a decision until August because with the delta variant around, you never know how things change, even over the next couple of weeks,” he said. “We don’t get any benefit in making a decision sooner so we’re going to hold off on that decision.”

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