The Ohio State Buckeyes could be shorthanded for the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday, due to COVID-19 issues within the program, but the game remains on schedule. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
MIAMI, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship game remains on schedule despite recent COVID-19 issues within the Ohio State football program, school and game officials said.
"Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and I have had multiple conversations," Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted Tuesday night. "Both schools are focused on playing in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 11."
CFP executive director Bill Hancock and Smith also told reporters Tuesday that the game is on schedule.
Earlier Tuesday, sources told Stadium, ESPN and AL.com there have been discussions about postponing the game to Jan. 18 because of COVID-19 issues at Ohio State.
Sources told AL.com, the Columbus Dispatch and Yahoo Sports that the issues relate to concerns over player availability for the Buckeyes due to positive COVID-19 tests and protocols.
The CFP committee said in December that it would be willing to delay the semifinal and championship games, as well as other bowl games, due to potential issues caused by COVID-19. The committee said Jan. 18 was a potential makeup date for the championship game.
The Buckeyes had three games canceled this season due to COVID-19. A total of 23 players missed Ohio State's Dec. 5 game against Michigan State. Buckeyes coach Ryan Day also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this season.
Alabama also had positive tests within its program this season, but has not had any of its games canceled since the season started. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban missed the team's Nov. 28 win over Auburn after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Alabama and Ohio State are scheduled to kickoff at 8 p.m. EST on Monday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Per Big Ten conference guidelines, any Ohio State player who tested positive for COVID-19 after Dec. 25 is not eligible to play in the game.
From left to right, Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day, with players Justin Fields and Tuf Borland hold the Miller-Digby Memorial Trophy after defeating Clemson 49-28 in the Sugar Bowl on Friday. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo