According to a league source, Major League Baseball will cancel games if a labor agreement with its players is not reached by Monday.
"The deadline is the deadline," a source told Reuters on Wednesday.
"After February 28, games will be canceled. Missed games are missed games, and the amount of money will not be paid for them."
The Major League Baseball Players Association has not received a response to a request for clarification.
The date was chosen because it would allow camps to begin on March 3 and provide for four weeks of spring training before the scheduled opening day of the 162-game regular season on March 31.
According to the source, a month of spring training is required to protect the safety and health of players.
Due to inter league play occurring on an almost daily basis and the difficulties associated with rescheduling those games, MLB will not reschedule missed games as double-headers as it does when games are canceled because of bad weather.
"So simply put, we would resume the existing schedule based on when we are able to ratify an agreement and open camps."
The league was forced out in early December, and the sides are meeting this week in hopes of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.
Owners and players in the current dispute are not agreeing on service periods for free agency, playoff expansion, a luxury tax, and a possible salary floor, as well as several proposed regulations.
On Wednesday, players took to social media to express their displeasure about the deadline.
"It's quite a thrill to watch MLB finish a difficult season on Monday," pitcher Alex Wood of the San Francisco Giants said.
"They locked us out. Had barely any contact for two months after the lockout. Have yet to make a single good faith offer to even initiate real conversations to get a deal done. Just make a real offer."
The lockout is MLB's first work stoppage since the players' strike in 1994-1995. That loss forced a long-term end to one season, forced the start of the next year's campaign to delay supporters, and attendances remained constant until play finally resumed.