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Beyond COVID Forfeiture: SEC Mulling Financial Penalty

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By the time the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC made official their strategic alliance Tuesday, all three conferences had independently announced their policy on COVID-related football game cancelations this season, with each saddling offending teams with forfeits — beginning with the Pac-12's announcement Aug. 12 and ending with the Big Ten following suit Monday.

Meanwhile, the Southeastern Conference — which precipitated the aforementioned alliance with its plans to expand to 16 teams and further strengthen its reputation, with the additions of Texas and Oklahoma, as the nation's premier college football conference — is considering measures beyond mere forfeiture to curb COVID-related game cancelations.

As reported by The Athletic, the SEC is discussing the application of financial penalties to teams scratched from scheduled games. Andy Staples writes, "Essentially, if canceled games cost the league television money, then schools whose teams had to forfeit would receive less from the conference's revenue-sharing agreement than schools that did not have to forfeit games. The idea behind this is to avoid penalizing schools that had their teams ready to play."

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told The Athletic last week that the SEC's formal cancelation policy may not be approved until next week. It is the only Power 5 conference yet to go public with a policy, with the Big 12 making its announcement Aug. 17. The first SEC football teams begin play on Sept. 2.

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