A college football season perpetually overturned by the coronavirus pandemic is now bracing for a potential final blow as officials question whether they might need to postpone Monday’s national championship game due to cases of the virus in the Ohio State, which is expected to play No. 1 in Alabama for the title.
College football playoff leaders, working with school and conference administrators, are considering a contingency plan if the state of Ohio is unable to field enough players in a position group, according to officials familiar with the proceedings.
Alabama Media Group first reported that the game in Miami Gardens, Florida was at risk of being delayed.
Bill Hancock, the playoff executive director, said in a brief interview Tuesday night that he and other organizers intend to play the game as planned.
“Nothing has changed,” Hancock said. “The game will take place on January 11, as planned, and we can’t wait to be there. “
Still, the league game can be as tenuous as many clashes this season, some of which were called off hours before kick-off. A conference official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because deliberations were confidential and are continuing, said Ohio State had warned of new cases in its third-ranked program – and the possibility that testing in the next few days could reveal more problems – but said a postponement was not considered imminent.
“We continue to follow the same protocols that we have all season,” said Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith. “We plan to play on January 11.”
In a Twitter message Tuesday night, Greg Byrne, Alabama’s athletic director, said he had spoken with Smith on several occasions and that “both schools were focusing” on the game on Jan.11.
Ohio state and Alabama were two of the least transparent schools to play football this fall, with neither of them releasing substantial data on the number of positive cases within their teams. soccer. The two coaches, Ryan Day of Ohio State and Nick Saban of Alabama, have missed games after testing positive.