National Championship Game reportedly in danger of being pushed back due to COVID
Throughout the 2020 season, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused numerous cancellations and postponements. And with only one game remaining on the schedule, it doesn’t appear things are in the clear quite yet.
According to AL.com’s John Talty and Matt Zenitz, there are concerns “related to Ohio State’s player availability” for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, which is scheduled to take place Monday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The Buckeyes, who are coming off a Sugar Bowl win over Clemson, are set to face Alabama, which defeated Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl.
Talty and Zenitz reported that Ohio State “has informed key parties involved” that it could be without an entire position group because of COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing protocols. They also noted that there have already been discussions among the SEC, Big Ten, the CFP and both schools about the potential of postponing the game.
According to Aaron Suttles of The Athletic, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey is “pushing hard against a postponement.”
Before the College Football Playoff got underway, it was established that Jan. 18 could serve as a potential makeup date, with the game still taking place at Hard Rock Stadium. Brett McMurphy of Stadium reported that the date was being discussed.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported that Ohio State is currently planning on playing on Monday, noting the COVID-19 issues are not yet large enough to postpone the game, but acknowledging that things could obviously change.
Ohio State has already had its schedule greatly impacted by the pandemic. The Big Ten started its season late, so the Buckeyes didn’t play their opener until Oct. 24. Then, they had three cancellations, which led to them playing only six games before reaching the CFP.
However, Ohio State is still undefeated, improving to 7-0 with its victory over Clemson.
Alabama has been more fortunate regarding its schedule, as the Crimson Tide are 12-0 and have only had one previous game get postponed — a Nov. 14 matchup at LSU that was later played on Dec. 5.