A growing number of COVID-19 cases around the country has raised some questions for the 2021 college football bowl season.
The College Football Playoff, which is also in charge of the Fiesta Bowl, announced Wednesday postseason policies regarding COVID-19 that could affect Oklahoma State’s Jan. 1 meeting with Notre Dame.
Should one of the teams be unable to compete because it has an insufficient number of athletes available, the CFP and the Fiesta Bowl will attempt to identify an alternate date for the game within one week of the scheduled date (Jan. 1). If no date can be found, the game would be ruled a no-contest.
This wave of COVID-19 cases has already moved NFL and NBA games. News broke Wednesday that Texas A&M was pulling out of its Gator Bowl matchup with Wake Forest because the Aggies “don’t have enough scholarship players available to field a team.”
OSU coach Mike Gundy shared his concern about the new wave of cases Monday.
“I’m concerned with what’s happening right now, I’ll be honest with you,” Gundy said. “Very selfishly, we hit a home run with getting through football because we all know that that needs to happen to keep people afloat financially. But I’m a little concerned with what’s going on right now with these numbers that you’re hearing about. I read yesterday 220,000 new cases in one day – that’s a lot. I’m trying to stay away from people. We’re talking to [the players] about it with our staff. There’s a certain percentage now that have already had a shot and already had a booster. We just do the best we can.”
Here is a list of other policies the CFP has put in place for the New Year’s Six Bowls:
- Teams’ travel to bowl sites – Teams have the option to arrive at the bowl site not later than two days before the game, rather than the customary five days before the game. (For example, not later than Wednesday before a Friday game.)
- Bowl events – Attendance at events at the game sites will be optional for student-athletes, institutions’ staff members, bands and spirit squads.
- News conferences – Media access to coaches, staff and student-athletes will be virtual.
- Access to the playing field – Non-essential personnel will not have access to the field and sidelines pre- and post-game. (For clarity, this includes, but is not limited to, institutions’ friends and family and bowls’ “special guests” and sponsors.)
- Testing arrangement — Each institution will use the testing arrangement that it used during the regular season. The institution will arrange for testing at the game site.
- Acceptance of opponent’s protocol — Each conference has agreed to accept each other conference’s testing protocol.
- Certification — The director of athletics and the institution’s chief medical officer must certify that each person with access to the playing field on game day has tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the kickoff or has been fully vaccinated.
- Health and Safety — To provide the best chance of health and safety, the participating institutions are encouraged to ensure that student-athletes and staff take prudent measures and follow medical recommendations to help prevent the contraction or transmission of COVID before, during and after they travel to the game sites.
Oklahoma State and Notre Dame are scheduled to kickoff at noon central time on Jan. 1.
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