How Many COVID Cases Will Make A College Football Team Ineligible To Play? A Look Into The Big 12 And SEC’s Plan


College football is here ladies and gents. There was football on this Saturday. You probably didn’t watch because it was two, who cares, schools. But it was college football none the less. This week we’ve got another batch of games and next week the big dogs are going to play…..most likely. But there is still a question mark out there that college football hasn’t answered yet.

How many COVID cases will make a team ineligible to play?

No conference has made an official plan yet but there are some whispers of a plan.


SI: However, in the Big 12 at least, the issue is in the last stages of finalization. Athletic directors are smoothing out plans recommended to them by the conference’s coaches, says commissioner Bob Bowlsby. While nothing is final yet, conference leaders are moving toward approving a policy requiring a team to have a designated number of healthy, eligible players at each position and overall as a team—a model that could be adopted across all leagues. The SEC is exploring a similar policy. 

“It’s an ongoing conversation,” Bowlsby says. “It’s got a lot of moving parts.”

One of the more favored options would mandate that a team have at least 53 total players available to play, with a minimum number at each position. The positional standards may include such requirements as one quarterback, six offensive linemen, six defensive linemen, two or three receivers and so on. Decision-makers have somewhat settled on the 53-man number based on data. The average college football team uses between 45 and 65 players per game.

This is so interesting. And I would imagine for a coach, terrifying. Obviously every coach is worried about an outbreak that could hit the team and knock out a large group of players. But having positional standards seems like a quick and easy way to lose some games.

Think about it, let’s say a defensive lineman tests positive for COVID and the team has a total of 12 on the roster. That number might be too high but it shows the impact. The people that the positive testing player will have been around the most will be his fellow position mates. So the chances of knocking out a position after a player tests positive is extremely high.

So let’s say in this case a team has 10 positive cases. They would still have enough players to play but if 7 of those 10 were on the defensive line, leaving them with only 5 guys, they’d be ineligible to play. That would drive me insane as a player, coach and fan. These rosters are full of guys who’ve played different positions. If I’m a coach I’m voting that there be a standard number of players that have to dress, no matter position.

Losing a game and a chance at the ‘playoffs’ because one too many running backs test positive would be infuriating.

Crazy to think we are less than two weeks away from real college football being back. Fingers crossed we make it.

Featured Image: Tampa Bay Times

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