If a team is unavailable to play in College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 31 because of COVID-19 issues, the game will be forfeited and the available team will advance to the championship game.
With COVID-19 cases spiking across the country due to the omicron variant, the CFP announced Wednesday contingency plans for the semifinals and national championship game, which is scheduled for Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.
No. 1 Alabama is scheduled to face No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl in one New Year’s Eve semifinal and No. 2 Michigan is set to play No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl in the nightcap of the CFP doubleheader.
“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,” College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “These policies will better protect our students and staffs while providing clarity in the event worst-case scenarios result.”
The contingency plans were agreed to by the CFP management committee, comprised of the 10 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director.
While there will be no rescheduling of either semifinal, the championship game could be delayed until as late as Jan. 14.
If a team cannot play in the title game, the available team will be declared national champion. If neither team has enough available players to play by Jan. 14, the championship will be considered vacated.
For the semifinals, if both teams scheduled to play each other are unavailable, that game shall be declared a no-contest and the winner of the other semifinal will be declared national champion.
If three semifinal teams are unavailable to play on Dec. 31, the team that is able to play will be declared national champion.