College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN on Tuesday that the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State remains on schedule for Monday in Miami, though sources have told ESPN there have been discussions about postponing the game because of COVID-19 issues within Ohio State’s program.
“I can tell you there are no changes,” Hancock told ESPN. “The game is scheduled for Jan. 11, as planned, and we look forward to it.”
Alabama officials and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey have also told ESPN they are committed to playing on Monday. The CFP last week announced Jan. 18 as a potential makeup date for the national title game.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg that his program plans to play as scheduled. The Buckeyes are scheduled to arrive in Miami at 6 p.m. Saturday, according to a school spokesperson.
“We’re following the same protocols we followed all season long,” Smith said Tuesday. “We intend to play on Jan. 11, and we continue to communicate with the Big Ten and now the CFP; so at this point in time, we see the game being played. But who knows what tomorrow will bring? That’s COVID. We’re on track right now.”
Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted that he and Smith have had “multiple conversations” and that “both schools are focused on playing” on Monday.
Ohio State had regular practice on Tuesday on the field, as well as meetings, according to a team spokesman. The Buckeyes are still going through the daily antigen testing for COVID-19, as required by the Big Ten.
On Monday, Ohio State coach Ryan Day met with the media and gave no indication his team wouldn’t be ready to play.
“We get 10 days here and kind of rest up a little bit and then get to work and practicing,” Day said. “So I think we’ll be refreshed and ready to roll. The virus still hasn’t gone away, so we’ve got to make sure we’re really vigilant in that area, which is still a struggle day in and day out. It’s just hard. But the preparation is just going to continue to go on.”
Information from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Adam Rittenberg was used in this report.