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ACC announces COVID-19 policies for 2021 Fall sports; double-forfeits are possible

With about two weeks to go before the 2021 football season starts, the ACC has released its COVID-19 policies and protocols for fall sports: football, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.

According to the league: if a 2021 game cannot be played on its originally schedule date, due to a team being unable to player (insufficient number of available players related to COVID-19), that team will forfeit and be charged with a loss. The opposing team will receive a win. The results will be applied to the conference standings.

Going further, and this is where the double-forfeiture comes into play: if a game cannot be played as originally scheduled due to both teams being able able to play (due to an insufficient number of available players related to COVID-19) both teams will forfeit the game. A loss will be assigned to both teams, which will be reflected in the conference standings.

Additionally:

If a 2021 ACC game cannot be played on its originally scheduled date due to any factor(s) directly associated with a Game Discontinuation Consideration as listed in the current ACC Medical Advisory Group (MAG) Report, the Conference’s sport rescheduling policy shall apply.

With regards to testing, vaccines will unsurprisingly play a pivotal role. Programs with a team-wide vaccination rate above 85 percent, among the athletes, and no active COVID-19 cases, may relax “mitigation strategies” around team actives. This relates to masking and social distancing a team meetings, meals and while traveling.

As of right now, six of the 14 ACC football schools are requiring on-campus students to be vaccinated for the 2021 Fall semester. Those schools include: Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Boston College.

However, the standards are different for unvaccinated athletes on teams with vaccine rates below that 85-percent threshold. Those athletes must be tested at least three times per week — with a molecular (PCR) test.

Unvaccinated individuals on a team with a vaccination rate of at least 85 percent must be tested once per week. Also: depending on how each individual school chooses to proceed, addition testing may be required, too.

More can be read here in the ACC’s full report.