Report: Rose Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal likely to relocate out of California

The Rose Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal game is likely to be relocated from Pasadena, California, this season because of the state's spike in coronavirus cases, according to a Los Angeles Times report on Saturday. 

The Rose Bowl, slated for Jan. 1, has been turned down on two appeals to state health officials after asking them to allow 400-500 spectators in the 95,000-seat stadium, according to the Times. That allotment would allow players' families to attend. 

If the game is moved to a different city, it might need to be renamed if the Pasadena City Council doesn't allow the "Rose Bowl" moniker to be used, the Times reported.

The paper added that Southern California's hospital ICU capacity dropped to zero percent earlier this week. Erica Pan, the acting state health officer at the California Department of Health, wrote in a Thursday denial letter acquired by the Times: “We understand the honor and tradition that takes place in Pasadena in participating in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. However, there are no boundaries to this virus.”

OPINION: Notre Dame coach is right. Time for college football to stop worshiping the Rose Bowl.

The Rose Bowl CFP semifinal game looks likely to move out of Pasadena this year. (Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)

In a statement released Tuesday, CFP executive director Bill Hancock said that the Rose Bowl remained "at this moment" scheduled to serve as host of one of the semifinal games.

“As we move forward with our planning, we continue to hope that the Rose Bowl’s appeal to government officials to allow the families of student-athletes to attend will be permitted, just as student-athlete families will be welcomed at the Sugar Bowl, the other New Years’ Six games and the championship game in Miami," Hancock said.

"Given the vast space inside the Rose Bowl stadium, we are confident that if families were able to attend, they could do so in a safe and socially distant manner. For many families, this will be the last chance they have to see their sons play college football."

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Texas A&M are all in the mix to play in the game. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Friday that the Irish may not play if players' families couldn't attend a semifinal game at the Rose Bowl.

"They gotta figure out how to make sure that whatever sites they play at, that the parents are going to be watching their sons play," Kelly said in a Zoom news conference.

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