The College Football Playoff National Championship game is scheduled for Monday, but in a season so impacted by COVID-19, the pandemic is not done wreaking havoc.
Al.com reports that COVID-19 concerns are threatening the game between Alabama and Ohio State, related to Ohio State player availability. Ohio State has reportedly indicated that it could be without an entire position group due to testing protocols.
Ohio State AD Gene Smith told ESPN on Tuesday that the Buckeyes are adhering to the protocols the team followed all season. Ohio State only managed to play six regular season game before being selected to the College Football Playoff.
“We intend to play on Jan. 11, and we continue to communicate with the Big Ten and now the CFP; so at this point in time, we see the game being played,” Smith told ESPN. “But who knows what tomorrow will bring? That's COVID. We're on track right now."
Conversations about possibly postponing the game involving the College Football Playoff, the Big Ten, the SEC and both participating schools have reportedly taken place, but all entities have indicated a preference to play the game on its originally scheduled date.
The CFP has reportedly established its own protocols for its postseason games — which differ from protocols established by the Big Ten. Thresholds for game cancelation were not previously known, but ESPN obtained information showing that, "An institution may postpone a game only if it has fewer than 53 roster players available to begin the game, with the following minimum number of position players: seven offensive linemen, four interior defensive linemen and one quarterback. An institution may play with fewer than the threshold numbers of players if it elects to do so."
Some didn’t take the news about COVID possibly impacting the game well, going as far as to accuse Ohio State of gamesmanship. Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s daughter issued an apology Tuesday for a now-deleted tweet which read, "If you're not confident to play then SAY IT. I call BS on the COVID cases. They're just worried about their QB and want him to have more time to heal. If he's hurt put in your backup. You didn't see us postpone the rest of the season to wait for [injured star wide receiver Jaylen] Waddle. BYE."