If Notre Dame is selected for the College Football Playoff, head coach Brian Kelly said the Fighting Irish would consider not playing if families can't attend their game.
"I'm not sure we'll play in the playoffs if the parents can't be there," Kelly said, via ESPN, during a call with reporters ahead of the ACC championship game. "Why would be we play if you can't have families at the game? If you can't have families at bowl games, why would you go to a game where your families can't be part of it? What's the sense of playing a game in an area of the country where nobody can be part of it?"
Kelly's comments come amid a growing debate over the sites of the semifinal games after the College Football Playoff said it expect to keep one of the Jan. 1 matchups at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., as planned. Earlier this month it was announced that no fans will be allowed at the Rose Bowl because of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the state, county and city. The Sugar Bowl—the other semifinal game—will be held with fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Los Angeles County has recently seen a spike in COVID-19 infections and reported 14,418 new cases, 102 deaths and 4,864 current hospitalizations for Thursday.
Kelly questioned why the Rose Bowl must be held in Pasadena and said he would be in favor of moving it to another site.
"Why can't it be the Rose Bowl in Las Vegas? Why can't it be the Rose Bowl in another town? Where's the flexibility? The one thing these kids have been is incredibly flexible," Kelly said, via The Athletic's Pete Sampson.
On Tuesday night, CFP executive director Bill Hancock said the group hoped the California government will ease its COVID-19 stadium protocols and players' families will be able to attend the Rose Bowl.
"Maybe they [CFP] need to spend a little less time on who the top four teams are and figure out how to get parents into these games because it is an absolute shame and a sham if parents can't be watching their kids play," Kelly said. "My kids have been on campus since June. They haven't seen their families very much at all. They've had to fight through COVID, some of them have had COVID. They can't be around their families for Christmas, and you're going to tell me we're going to have a playoff and maybe one site can have families and the other can't? Please.
"Somebody's got to wake up in that room and figure this out or you might as well call this the professional league."
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney agreed that the Rose Bowl could be played in a different venue with families in attendance.
"It makes no sense to me to put a bunch of kids on a plane and fly them all the way to California to play in an empty stadium," Swinney said, via The Athletic's Grace Raynor. "That makes zero sense."
Swinney added that he feels this way regardless of whether Clemson lands a CFP spot.