Big West to require COVID-19 vaccine, approves forfeits for 2022 season

Photo courtesy of Hawai’i athletics

Players from a powerhouse college men’s volleyball conference will need to be vaccinated to compete in the 2022 season.

The Big West Board of Directors recently unanimously approved a policy requiring all on-campus students and student-athletes at conference schools to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Individuals can be exempt from this vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons if approved by their school. Schools also will have the freedom under the Big West policy to determine their own sports event attendance and masking policies that are compliant with federal, state, local and campus coronavirus protocols.


“Since the pandemic began, all 11 Big West institutions have made it their mission to protect the health, safety and welfare of our student-athletes, and these actions are in concert with that goal,” Big West commissioner Dan Butterly said in a statement. “Our fans are such a big part of what we do. Having the opportunity to see crowds in the stands where possible will be a welcomed sight for student-athletes, coaches and fans across the Big West.”

The Big West has won the last three NCAA championships. In addition, three of the six teams in the Big West finished the 2021 season in the top 10 of the national coaches poll and national media poll.

Along with its vaccination requirement, the Big West unanimously approved a policy requiring teams to forfeit if they are unable to compete in a match because of a lack of eligible players due to a coronavirus outbreak.

Teams that have to forfeit will receive a loss in the conference standings, while the opponent will be credited with a win. If both teams are unable to compete, the match will be declared a no contest.

The Big West men’s volleyball season typically starts in March and features teams playing a double robin-round format. All six teams will qualify to the Big West Tournament that will be played at Hawai’i in late-April.