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CFP announces COVID-19 forfeit policies for semifinals, national title game

With COVID spikes around the country, the playoff is officially in jeopardy.

2021 SEC Championship - Georgia v Alabama
Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide leads the Alabama Crimson Tide team onto the field before the SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 04, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The College Football Playoff has announced forfeit and cancellation policies for the 2021 playoff in response to the COVID-19 surge around the country due to to the omicron variant. Here’s a look at the full policy.

The most interesting note in all this is the semifinal games at the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl. If one team is unavailable to play in either game, the other automatically advances to the national title game. If both teams from one of the semifinals cannot field a full roster, the other semifinal becomes a de facto national title game.

In the event a team is unavailable for the national title game, the organizers would attempt to reschedule the game to a date no later than January 14. If the game cannot be rescheduled, the team unavailable to play would forfeit the title to the other. If both teams are unavailable, the national title would be vacated for the 2021 season.

For the Fiesta and Peach bowl games, the parties involved would be responsible for finding a suitable alternative date. If such a date is not found, the games would not occur. These games currently involve Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh and Michigan State.

The Michigan Wolverines have taken additional precautions against COVID-19 ahead of the playoff, with the entire team receiving vaccine booster shots. Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said his players are also receiving booster shots and is confident in the team’s availability.