Football games that can’t be played in the Colonial Athletic Association — which includes the University of Maine — due to COVID-19-related circumstances will result in a forfeit by the team that caused the cancellation.
The CAA made that announcement on Wednesday.
The canceling team will receive a loss in the conference standings and the opponent will be awarded a win.
However, those games will be considered “no contests” in the eyes of the NCAA, so they won’t impact teams’ overall records, according to Rob Washburn, assistant commissioner of the CAA.
That means hypothetically a team could have an overall NCAA record of 8-2 including four non-conference wins and two forfeits in the conference, but a 4-4 record in the CAA.
The CAA regular season champion receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. A team will still be in line for an at-large bid with its overall NCAA record.
The new policy does provide a 24-hour window for making up the game.
“We needed to provide a scenario that was fair and equitable for all of our teams and this provides a pathway to that,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said, noting that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible” to make games up.
“This is similar to what other FCS and [Football Bowl Subdivision] conferences are doing,” he added.
Washburn said one of the things that is complicating matters is the fact that the 12 teams are from nine states and each state and school has its own pandemic guidelines.
“Some schools are requiring that all of their students be vaccinated and others aren’t,” Washburn said.
All University of Maine students will have to be vaccinated in order to step foot on campus this fall.
The CAA held an abbreviated spring schedule after deciding against having a fall season due to the pandemic.
Towson opted out of the spring season and the other 11 teams had six conference games scheduled. The league was divided into two divisions based on geography and the seven teams in the north were slated to play each other once while the four in the south were to play each other twice.
However, the pandemic created havoc and no teams played more than four conference games.
The University of Maine, Villanova, Delaware, Elon, Stony Brook, Albany and Richmond were able to play four conference games apiece. James Madison, William and Mary and the University of Rhode Island were able to play three but the University of New Hampshire had just one game.
UMaine did not have any COVID-19 cases during the spring season.
“I think we just have to follow the protocols and do things the right way,” UMaine head football coach Nick Charlton said. “Ultimately, it’s about the health and safety of the players so we’re just going to react off of those rules.”