The sports universe as of late has been in shambles thanks to players across many different leagues having widespread COVID-19 outbreaks. The NHL decided to shut the season down temporarily, but the NBA is still trying to play through the pain, making teams sign players to fill their roster and keep the show going. As far as the NCAA goes, there’s been no word of any stoppage, but we at least now know what the plan is for the ACC.
Yesterday it was announced that the ACC ADs voted to eliminate the COVID-19 forfeit policy. What this means is that teams will no longer be able to forfeit games, which is largely thanks to a number of cancellations that have already taken place this season. If teams aren’t able to field a team, then the game in question will be rescheduled if possible. However, if it is not possible to reschedule, the game will be ruled a no contest, and neither team’s records will be impacted.
As far as how many players are needed for the game to still take place, the ACC also announced that teams that have seven available players and one coach must compete. One thing to note here is that as far as we know, it doesn’t matter whether or not it is the head coach that is able to attend, so it is possible that we could see some assistant head coaches get thrown into the fire should anything happen during conference play. It is also worth noting that if the team in question has the minimum amount of required players/coaches and decide not to play, it will be considered a forfeit.
For anybody that was concerned that UNC’s season would get sucked into the same chaotic COVID whirlwind that the pro leagues are in, it sounds like the answer is no. To this point in the season, Carolina has not had any COVID-related outbreaks, nor has women’s basketball or the football team. UNC’s sports teams were encouraged to have at least 85% of their student-athletes vaccinated at the beginning of the sports season, and UNC basketball has met said goal. The same goes for the football team, which is scheduled to play next week against South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte.
With yesterday’s announcement from the ACC, it sounds like the show will go on regardless of teams experiencing outbreaks. So far Boston College and Louisville have had outbreaks in their program, so things are already off to a shaky start. For the Cardinals, their annual game against Kentucky was postponed, but it sounds like they plan to reschedule. We’ll have to wait and see if any of the other teams will experience COVID issues, but hopefully things don’t get any worse than what has already happened.