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COVID-19 Protocol Controversy & College Basketball

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

On Wednesday, January 18th a Men’s College Basketball matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Northwestern Wildcats was postponed due to Covid-19 protocols, causing a series of Twitter threads bashing the BIG 10 conference for their decision not to issue a forfeiture. Dozens of users quoting the conference policy and others acknowledging the importance of the game with Iowa's conference record being 4-3 and Northwestern's being 3-3. Following the conference's policy, the game should have been declared a forfeit but for whatever reason it was rescheduled for Tuesday, January 31st, forcing the Hawkeyes to play two games in three days.

BIG 10 Conference Forfeiture Policy: If a team is unable to participate in a scheduled Conference competition due to COVID-19 and as a result the competition is unable to occur on the calendar day on which it is scheduled, the competition shall be considered a forfeit by the team unable to participate and shall not be rescheduled. In such case, the team unable to participate shall be assessed a “loss,” its opponent a “win,” and Conference standings shall be adjusted accordingly.

Rick Webster, Iowa fan and Twitter user, posted a screenshot of the conference policy with no caption leaving other users to debate in the comments. One user bashing the BIG 10 for wanting to retain the money earned by this game, and other users demanding an updated policy as we are in 2023 and Covid-19 is no longer a national emergency.

Clay Travis, sports commentator, author, and lawyer out of Nashville, tweeted, “They just postponed the Northwestern-Iowa basketball game for covid. How the hell is this still happening anywhere? How are we still testing college kids for covid? So dumb."

Granted both of these users seem to oppose the rescheduling due to Covid-19, there is one user who defended the conference, Todd Brommelkamp, editor and general manager for Voice of the Hawkeyes magazine and website as well as a sports radio host, saying, “Other conferences have seen a few (games postponed due to COVID). Why would Iowa sign off? Because if Iowa found itself in a position with only 6 healthy players they’d likely expect the same response.”

Although Iowa will be forced to play a tougher schedule right in the heart of their season, these are the circumstances that really show the strength of a team. They have no control over the Northwestern athletes who are ineligible to play and they also have no control over the BIG 10 policies.

What do you think? Did the conference make the right decision in rescheduling the came or should it have been considered a forfeit by Northwestern?

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