Reports: National championship game could be postponed because of COVID concerns at Ohio State

Athletic Director Gene Smith says Buckeyes plan to play Jan. 11

Ohio State and Alabama are still scheduled to play each other for the national championship on Monday night.

Multiple reports late Tuesday afternoon indicate that could change.

The Alabama Media Group, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo!Sports all indicated postponing the College Football Playoff final between the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide has been discussed, but the decision to do so has not been made at this point as COVID-19 cases and contact tracing could be an issue for the Buckeyes.

Through a spokesperson, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith indicated the team is still practicing with a goal of playing Monday.

“We continue to follow the same protocols as we have all season,” Smith said. “We plan to play January 11th.”

Ohio State had three games canceled during the regular season because of COVID-19 case counts.

The first involved an issue with Maryland. Then Ohio State had to cancel its game at Illinois on Thanksgiving weekend because of its own situation.

A week later, the Buckeyes beat Michigan State then had The Game against Michigan canceled because of an outbreak involving the Wolverines.

CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN last week the makeup date for the championship game would be Jan. 18.

Alabama began the season Sept. 26, a month earlier than Ohio State, and managed to play 12 games. They were off Nov. 7 and on Dec. 5 played a game against LSU that had been scheduled for Nov. 14.

Since canceling the Illinois game, Ohio State has played three games, all with some players sidelined.

The school listed 16 players out for the Sugar Bowl win over Clemson on Friday night, though some of those players were injured.

More than 20 players were unavailable for the Michigan State game and a win in the Big Ten Championship game over Northwestern on Dec. 19.

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