COVID-19 fears threaten to disrupt the national title game

In the latest development of a turbulent season, fears related to COVID-19 threaten to disrupt Monday’s national championship match between Alabama and Ohio.

There are concerns regarding the availability of a player in Ohio for the game, according to sources, and an important decision was made less than a week after the game was due to start in Miami. Ohio has informed key stakeholders that they may be without a situation group due to COVID-19 testing and related protocols.

Sources said there had been discussions between the SEC, Big Ten, College Football Playoff and schools regarding the possibility of delaying the January 11th title match, although a final decision on the position had yet to be reached. The CFP has already established January 18 at Hard Rock as the installation date in case the title match is postponed. Starting on Tuesday afternoon, we hope and expect the game to play as scheduled on January 11th.

After AL.com published the news of the discussions, Jane Smith, Ohio, announced ESPN said “At this time, we see the game in play.” Ohio was without a multiplayer in the Sugar Bowl’s victory over Clemson on January 1.

“We follow the same protocols we followed throughout the season,” said Smith. “We intend to play on January 11th, and continue to communicate with the Big Ten and now the CFP, so at this time, we see the game in play. But who knows what tomorrow will bring? This is COVID. We are on the right track now.”

CFP CEO Bill Hancock told several reporters that the match was still on schedule. Alabama State Athletic Director Greg Byrne tweeted, “I’ve had multiple conversations with Jane Smith in Ohio. Both schools are focused on playing the CFBPlayoff tournament game on January 11th.”

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John Talty is the Sports Editor and SEC Insider for the Alabama Media Group. You can follow him on Twitter @JDalty. Matt Zenitz is the SEC’s chief soccer correspondent for the Alabama Media Group. You can follow him on Twitter @MZenitz.

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