The resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday threatened the closure of the university football season weeks, when a team withdrew from its home game and four national title contenders were warned that if they could not compete in time they could lose.
Minutes after Texas A&M announced its withdrawal from next week’s Gator Bowl next week in Jacksonville, Fla., The Football Playoff College announced that it would play its semifinals on Dec. 31 in Alabama No. 1 vs. No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 1. 2 Michigan does not include 3 Georgia again, although it has expanded the protocol that could have ended the tournament before the start.
Bill Hancock, managing director of the playoffs, said in a statement, “As we prepare for the game, it is prudent and necessary that we take further measures to protect those who will play the games and coach them.” “This policy will better protect our students and staff when it comes to clarity as a result of worst-case scenarios.”
According to policies set out by playoff officials on Wednesday, a team that is unable to play in the semi-final match on December 31st will be defeated, allowing its intended opponent to automatically advance to the national title game, which is scheduled for January 10th. planned in Indianapolis. .
If both teams are unable to compete in one of the semi-final matches, the winner of the other semi-final match will become the national champion.
However, there is a degree of flexibility to the title game. Playoff officials said the championship match could be replayed in a few days, but it should be played no later than January 14th. If a team is unable to compete even after a delay, its opponent will become the champion; if one team can not appear in Indianapolis, the playoffs said, will not be champions this season.
Playoff officials also said they are changing plans around their games and will allow the team to arrive instead of the traditional five just two days before the start. Related events will be optional for players and coaches, playoff said, and news conferences will return to virtual formats that became commonplace in the 2020 season.
“We certainly wish we were not in that position, but the only responsibility is to take whatever measures we can reasonably take to better protect those who play and coach the game,” Hancock said.
Playoff teams did not report significant outcomes – although Alabama said Wednesday that its offensive coordinator and offensive line trainer tested positive for the virus.
Texas A&M said its withdrawal from the Gator Bowl came after an increase in events that left it without enough players. Until Gator Bowl officials can find a replacement team to deal with No. Meet 17 Wake Forest, the December 31st game may be the first of this season to be abruptly canceled due to a pandemic.
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M coach, said in a statement, “It’s unfortunate, but we just don’t have enough student players to follow a team.”
The university said that in addition to problems related to the virus, the team’s address was not limited to injuries related to the pandemic.
Dave Clawson, Wake Forest coach, said he hopes the cup organizers will be able to find a substitute team to face his team, which has a 10-3 record and reached the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
“While we are disappointed that we do not have the opportunity to play a talented Texas A&M football team in Jacksonville next week, our student-athletes and staff are still very excited and want to play,” Clawson said in a statement. He added: “Our student-athletes, especially our seniors, deserve this last chance to compete as a team for a chance to win a championship.”
At least one other team, Miami, is known to have health and safety protocols because of viral problems. Miami said this week that it expects to participate in the Sun Bowl on December 31 against the State of Washington.
Struggles in college sports reflect the problems that occur extensively in athletics. The NHL announced a halt to its season and abandoned plans to send athletes to the Beijing Olympics in February. The NFL and NBA have been trying hard to keep their seasons in the program, although two NBA games were postponed on Wednesday because two teams, the Nets and the Toronto Raptors, did not have enough players to take to court.