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CFP Hopes California Eases Restrictions at Rose Bowl

Andy Berg

The College Football Playoff is hoping to keep its tradition of hosting at least one of its two semifinal games at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

As part of the effort to return to the Rose Bowl, the CFP is hoping California will ease its stadium restrictions and allow players’ families to attend the game.

"At this moment, the College Football Playoff looks forward to playing one of the two semifinal playoff games at the Rose Bowl, as scheduled," CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement that was reported by ESPN. "As we move forward with our planning, we continue to hope that the Rose Bowl's appeal to government officials to allow the families of student-athletes to attend will be permitted, just as student-athlete families will be welcomed at the Sugar Bowl, the other New Year's Six games and the championship game in Miami." 

During a virtual press conference with reports Tuesday evening, Hancock said that because of the ongoing pandemic, the CFP reserves the right to “make decisions as late as possible.

"For example, what happens if the state of California shuts down entirely and doesn't allow any games?  We are keeping our eye on the situation, but are planning to play the semifinal at the Rose Bowl."

Hancock declined to speculate on alternative locations should the Rose Bowl fall through.

"I may be old-fashioned, but I think it's important to honor agreements," he said. "We are planning on playing the game in California and we're hoping the state will fix the situation and allow the families to be there."

In his statement, Hancock said he was confident that a game at the Rose Bowl could be held in a safe manner.

"Given the vast space inside the Rose Bowl stadium, we are confident that if families were able to attend, they could do so in a safe and socially distant manner," Hancock said in his statement. "For many families, this will be the last chance they have to see their sons play college football. We understand that under California's COVID-19 protocols, fans in general will not be able to attend. We hope the small number of families who want to attend will not be prohibited from doing so."

The Rose Bowl said in a statement that it will continue to follow state guidelines.

"Under current California state guidelines, we are unable to allow for spectators of any kind at the game, however, a second appeal has been made at the state level to allow for a special exemption for player and coach guests," the spokesperson said in a statement. "We continue to work with the College Football Playoff and local health officials to provide the safest possible environment at our game."

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