CFP Won't Create New COVID-19 Protocols for Qualifiers

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The College Football Playoff will ask teams to continue following the COVID-19 protocols that got them through the regular season.

According to CBS Sports, college football’s postseason format won’t create a new, uniform system to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Rather, the four qualifiers will continue to follow the testing protocols created by their conferences.

"They basically agreed that the conferences will trust the other conferences' protocol," CFP executive director Bill Hancock told CBS Sports of the decision made by the CFP Management Committee, which includes the 10 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

"It made no sense to start over with the CFP and New Year's Six games," an anonymous high-ranking Power Five official said, according to CBS Sports. "There would be different testing personnel, different collection methods, different testing labels. It was a level of anxiety nobody needed."

Earlier this year, each conference created its own set of regulations upon returning to play after the season was delayed by coronavirus. More than 100 games this year have been canceled or postponed, as programs undergo regular testing and contact tracing while the virus has spiked during the season.

A number of bowl games have already been canceled, while the College Football Playoff is still scheduled to start with the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. The national championship is set for Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

It remains to be seen what will happen if one of the four CFP teams has a COVID-19 issue going into the postseason. Currently, if a Big Ten team like Ohio State makes the playoff and has complications, it will hurt more due to the conference’s mandatory 21-day quarantine for athletes that test positive. The quarantine period is at least a week longer than in any other conference.

Related content: Big Ten Bends Games Rule, Sends OSU to Title Game

Conference’s can alter their protocols, as the CDC recently decreased the quarantine time for high-risk contacts who are asymptomatic. The quarantine had been 14 days. Now, those asymptomatic individuals can return to normal activity after 10 days or leave quarantine after the seventh day with a negative test.

Related content: CDC’s Reduced Quarantine Time Good News for Sports

The number of tests also differs between the conferences. The Big Ten and Pac-12 tests daily, while the SEC, ACC and Big 12 requires minimum of three tests per week.

"Everyone involved is motivated, has been motivated, will be motivated to make sure the participants are all healthy," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said, according to CBS Sports. "Based on different realities, there are different methodologies to do so. I think we've all demonstrated we can all arrive at meeting the same expectations."

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