The College Football Playoff management committee announced updated procedures Wednesday to govern potential issues caused by COVID-19.
The new policies provide guidance in the event that one or more playoff teams can’t play due to an insufficient number of players.
Playoff semifinals (Cotton and Orange Bowls) if one team is unavailable to play: The unavailable team shall forfeit the game and its opponent would advance to the national championship game.
Playoff semifinals (Cotton and Orange Bowls) if both teams are unavailable to play in one semifinal: The semifinal game would be declared “no contest” and the team winning the other semifinal game would be declared the CFP national champion.
Playoff semifinals (Cotton and Orange Bowls) if three teams are unavailable to play: The semifinal game in which two teams are unable to play would be declared “no contest.” In the other semifinal game, the team unable to play shall forfeit the game and its opponent would be declared CFP national champion.
CFP National Championship: if the team’s unavailability is determined after the playoff semifinals have been conducted, the national championship game in Indianapolis may be rescheduled to no later than Friday, Jan. 14. If one team is able to play and the other is not and the game cannot be rescheduled or is rescheduled and cannot be played, then the team unable to play shall forfeit the game and the other team shall be declared CFP national champion. If both teams are unable to play on either an original or rescheduled date, then the game shall be declared “no contest” and the CFP National Championship shall be vacated for this season.
“As we prepare for the playoff, it’s wise and necessary to put into place additional precautions to protect those who will play and coach the games,” said CFP executive director Bill Hancock. “These policies will better protect our students and staffs while providing clarity in the event worst-case scenarios result.”
Alabama is set to take on Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31, while Michigan will face Georgia in the Orange Bowl later that same day. The national championship game is scheduled for Jan. 10.
The four teams have the option to arrive at the bowl site no earlier than two days before the game, rather than the customary five days.
Meanwhile, media access to players and coaches will be virtual.
“We certainly wish we were not in this position,” said Hancock. “But the only responsible thing is to take whatever actions we can reasonably take to better protect those who play and coach the game.”