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Big Ten: Canceled games will be ‘no contest’

Big Ten conference logo on college football field
Nov 12, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; Big Ten logos on yardage markers during warmups prior to the game between the Illinois Fighting Illini and Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 48-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With the Big Ten football season set to kick off Friday night, the conference announced Thursday that any game that can’t be played due to a coronavirus outbreak will be declared “no contest.”

Neither team would receive a win or a loss in such instances.

While other conferences have postponed games and shuffled schedules to accommodate contests put off due to positive COVID-19 tests, the Big Ten has no such leeway due to its late start to the season.

All Big Ten teams will play eight games in eight weeks starting this weekend and running through Dec. 12. The Big Ten championship game will be played Dec. 19, featuring the first-place teams from each division. That same day, all other teams in the conference will play a ninth game, with the second-place team in the Big Ten East facing the second-place team in the Big Ten Week, the third-place teams meeting up, etc.

Games will be canceled if one team or both teams have both a test positivity rate (number of positive tests divided by total number of tests administered) of at least 5 percent and a population positivity rate (number of positive individuals divided by total population at risk) of at least 7.5 percent.

With no makeup games possible and understanding the likelihood of games behind canceled, the Big Ten published a five-page document spelling out the tiebreaker procedures for determining the final standings.

The top standings criteria will be winning percentage, but a team must complete at least six games to be eligible for the conference championship game, unless the conference average for games completed is fewer than six games. In the latter case, a team must have contested no less than two games fewer than the conference average.

If division rivals end up tied in the loss column after playing a different number of games, their head-to-head result will be the first tiebreaker over total wins. If division foes are tied and their head-to-head matchup was canceled, division winning percentage will be the first tiebreaker.

Illinois plays at No. 14 Wisconsin on Friday before the other 12 Big Ten teams are in action on Saturday.

–Field Level Media