Sources: National Championship Faces Potential Delay Amid Ohio State COVID-19 Concerns


The college football national championship game faces a potential postponement amid COVID-19 concerns at Ohio State, according to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger

Dellenger reports that "there has been discussion" about postponing the game, particularly if the Buckeyes' COVID issues worsen.

The national title battle between the Buckeyes and Alabama is currently slated to be held on Monday, Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. If the game is delayed, it will likely be held one week later on Jan. 18. 

There are concerns regarding Ohio State's availability for the national championship, per's John Talty and Matt Zenitz. The Buckeyes could reportedly be without a whole position group for the matchup due to COVID-19 testing and related protocols.

According to Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde, sources say the CFP Management Committee has already established thresholds for available players at 53 total, seven offensive linemen, four defensive linemen and one quarterback. If a playoff team falls below that threshold, it can request postponement or play with fewer than 53 players. Forde adds that the commissioners on the committee who work outside the SEC and Big Ten could be the "final arbiter" on game decisions.  

Ohio State is continuing to prepare for a matchup on Jan. 11 despite the COVID-19 concerns, per Yahoo Sports's Pete Thamel. University AD Gene Smith told ESPN, "We intend to play on Jan. 11," but added, "But who knows what tomorrow will bring? That's COVID. We're on track right now." It has not been announced which, if any, Ohio State players have already tested positive as of Tuesday afternoon.

Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told Forde, "There are no changes to report. The game is scheduled for Jan. 11 as planned and we are looking forward to it."

The Buckeyes cruised past Clemson in a 49–28 victory in the College Football playoff semifinal. Alabama advanced to the title game following a 31–14 win over Notre Dame.