Forfeiting Football Games Is On The Table For Mountain West This Fall
If COVID-19 is an issue teams will have to suffer the consequences.
Will this get the attention of programs?
COVID-19 wrecked a havoc on the Mountain West last year and the goal is that in 2021 the season will be more normal and specifically due to the vaccine that is available to thwart off the disease. Well… that is if teams and their players decide to get the shot to provide protection.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson spoke on the first day of Mountain West media days and the coronavirus came up, and he flat out said that forfeits will be on the table if teams are unable to play.
“The Mountain West does not plan to cancel, postpone, or reschedule any games,” Thompson said. “If the game is scheduled to begin at 1 o’clock. on Saturday and Team X is not able to play it will be determined a forfeit.
“That is different from last year. Last year there was no vaccine and last year there was not a choice to be made. This year there is. We are not going to mandate as a league vaccinations, but we will have consequences if you are not able to participate as a team.”
‘Last year there was not a choice to be made. This year there is’ – @MountainWest Commisioner Craig Thompson says MWC intends to drop COVID-19 testing for vaccinated players, games will not be rescheduled & teams will be forced to forfeit if unable to take the field #MountainWest pic.twitter.com/bYYWKLW5lO
— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) July 21, 2021
Those are strong words from the commissioner and it goes in line with what the SEC said at its media days that games will not be rescheduled.
Hopefully, with real football consequences on the line, teams will get as many players as possible vaccinated with a goal of 100%.
At the moment, there is work to be done within the conference to make sure a higher percentage do get their vaccination doses.
Testing will be required for unvaccinated student-athletes coaches, according to Commissioner Thompson. They will also be subject to contact tracing.
• Seven insituations at 90% vaccination threshold.
• The conference as a whole is at about 73%.
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) July 21, 2021
Having seven schools over 90% is very good but there is still a lot of work to be done from the other five schools. Boise State is one that is not even at 80% and one would think based upon last year with games being missed due to positive tests and contact tracing their numbers would be higher.
Can confirm Boise State is not one of the Mountain West teams to reach an 80 percent vaccination rate, according to a source. Broncos have some work to do.
— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) July 21, 2021
At this point, any player who has not received the vaccine can not be fully vaccinated by the start of the season — unless they take the Johnson & Johnson version which is one shot.
The others that are available require a month in between shots and then two weeks after shot two to have the full protection that it provides. Basically, getting the first shot by the end of July is necessary to be very close, if not all the way protected with the vaccine.
Forfeiting games is a tough pill to swallow so teammates, coaches and staff that are vaccinated but end up not being able to play because too many do not have the protection and forfeit a game will not be happy.
Coaches and players do not like to lose games and having an automatic L on the schedule without playing the game because some players don’t want the vaccination would be quite frustrating. Getting this shot not only helps you be safer and others around you with your health but there is much less worrying about not being able to get a win on the football field.
This also is the right move by Thompson and the league. This creates an incentive to get the shot to be able to play games and the punishment is severe enough that maybe that method will prod a few more players to take the vaccine.
It would be a shame to forfeit a game over something that these players have control, and like Thompson said in his press conference: “Last year there was no vaccine and last year there was not a choice to be made. This year there is.”