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Notre Dame considers CFP boycott if families barred from semifinals

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said his team will consider opting out of a bowl game invitation if his players' families aren't allowed to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said his team will consider opting out of a bowl game invitation if his players' families aren't allowed to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Notre Dame will consider not playing in the 2020 College Football Playoff semifinals if families aren't allowed to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic, coach Brian Kelly said Friday.

Kelly made the comments during a video conference call with reporters. The Fighting Irish are No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

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Notre Dame will face No. 3 Clemson in the ACC Championship game Saturday. The Top 4 teams in the rankings after this weekend will earn spots in two national semifinal matchups.

"I'm not sure we'll play in the playoffs if the parents can't be there," Kelly said. "Why would we play if you can't have families at the game? Yeah, we would opt out. ... What's the sense of playing a game in an area of the country where nobody can be part of it?"

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The Rose Bowl is the first College Football Playoff semifinal game, set for Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. EST in Pasadena, Calif. The second semifinal, the Sugar Bowl, will kick off Jan. 1 at 8:45 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in New Orleans.

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Earlier this week, Rose Bowl director David Eads said that the Rose Bowl will not be played in front of spectators due to COVID-19 safety precautions in Los Angeles County.

On Tuesday, College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement that the tournament committee "looks forward to playing one of the two semifinal playoff games at the Rose Bowl, as scheduled."

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Hancock also said that Rose Bowl officials have appealed to officials to allow families to attend the game.

New Orleans Health Department director Dr. Jennifer Avengo said Thursday that 3,000 fans will be allowed to attend the Sugar Bowl.

"Maybe they [CFP committee] needs to spend a little less time on who the top four teams are and figure out how to get parents into these games because it is an absolute shame, and a sham if parents can't be watching their kids play," Notre Dame's Kelly said.

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"My kids have been on campus since June. They haven't seen their families very much at all. They've had to fight through COVID. Some of them have had COVID. They can't be around their families for Christmas, and you're going to tell me we're going to have a playoff and maybe one site can have families and the other can't? Please."

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Kelly suggested Las Vegas as a potential alternate location if the Rose Bowl is moved out of California.

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