With games being either postponed or canceled throughout college basketball, the SEC has updated its game policies, the conference announced Thursday.
According to the league, “An SEC men’s or women’s basketball team will be required to play if it has at least seven (7) scholarship student-athletes and one (1) countable coaching staff member available to participate. The impacted institution has the option to play the game with fewer than the seven players and/or one countable coach, if it elects to do so. Otherwise, upon approval by the Commissioner, the game will be rescheduled or declared a no contest.”
If an institution wishes to delay a game because of other reasons, “The institution shall be required to present the reasons it believes the game should be postponed, including all relevant data (specifying the total number of players not available to participate due to isolation, quarantine and injury) to the Conference office as soon as practicable in advance of the contest. The final determination to postpone a contest shall be made by the Commissioner, or his/her designee.”
The SEC is scheduled to begin conference play on Dec. 29. Kentucky plays host to Missouri in its SEC opener on that date.
Leagues that have already begun play have experienced postponements, even forfeitures. For example, Seton Hall is 1-1 in Big East play having not yet played an actual game. The Pirates were forced to forfeit its Dec. 20 game against St. John’s and then won by forfeit over DePaul in a game scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 23.
UK head coach John Calipari said Tuesday he believes that if a team has eight players and one coach available, it should be required to play. The new SEC guidelines are along those lines, with a requirement of seven scholarship-athletes and one coach.
The revision is an update from the policy set forth in August which “called for a contest to be forfeited and a loss assigned to any team unable participate, and are similar to the policies utilized by the Conference during the 2020-21 season.”
“As we have done since the onset of the pandemic, we continue to evaluate our policies and procedures related to COVID-19 based on the most current information,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “Circumstances have clearly changed since our interrupted game policy was implemented in August and this updated approach is intended to support healthy, fair and equitable competition.”
The league said Thursday that if a contest is postponed and cannot be rescheduled, the commissioner can cancel the contest and it will be recorded as a no contest.
Also, a minimum of two game officials must be available in order to conduct a contest. If less than two officials are available, the game will be postponed.
This story was originally published December 23, 2021 1:40 PM.