Rose Bowl will be played at Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium

“We are pleased that parents and loved ones will now be able to see their students play in the game,” Hancock said in a news release. “W...

“We are pleased that parents and loved ones will now be able to see their students play in the game,” Hancock said in a news release. “We are very grateful to Rose Bowl officials and the City of Pasadena. They have worked hard to listen to the concerns of the CFP, the teams that might have played there, and their state and government officials. The Tournament of Roses has acted in the best interest of the people who live in Southern California. And we’re grateful to Cotton Bowl and AT&T Stadium officials for their ability to make this late switch possible.”

A stay-at-home order is in effect in Pasadena because of the coronavirus pandemic; large gatherings, including sporting events that are open to fans, have been prohibited since March. Earlier Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pasadena City Council will determine whether to allow the “Rose Bowl Game” moniker to be used in another location.

“We know that the decision was not an easy one to make,” David Eads, the Tournament of Roses executive director, said in a statement, according to the Times. “While we remain confident that a game could have been played at the Rose Bowl Stadium, as evident in the other collegiate and professional games taking place in the region, the projection of COVID-19 cases in the region has continued on an upward trend.”

The Rose Bowl, played annually since 1916, was last not played in Pasadena in 1942, when the game was moved to Durham, N.C., after the attack on Pearl Harbor a month earlier.

Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly and Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney had said Friday they would be in favor of moving the game out of California if players’ families are not allowed to attend.

“I don’t think there’s any question that there’s plenty of venues if, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work. … There’s plenty of stadiums where you could have fans. You certainly can have families,” Swinney said. “It makes no sense to me to put a bunch of kids on a plane and fly them all the way to California to play in an empty stadium.”

Swinney’s comments came in response to a question about Kelly, who earlier that day said the Fighting Irish would consider opting out of a CFP game if the players’ families were not allowed to attend.

“I’m not sure we’ll play in the playoffs if the parents can’t be there,” he said in a video news conference ahead of Notre Dame’s ACC championship game against Clemson on Saturday. “Why would we play if you can’t have families at the game? If you can’t have families at bowl games, why would you go to a game where your families can’t be part of it? What’s the sense of playing a game in an area of the country where nobody can be part of it?”

Hancock said earlier in the week that the game would remain at the Rose Bowl and that he hoped the Los Angeles County government would relent on allowing a small group of family members into the stadium. On Friday, Kelly said if that’s the case, the CFP needs to lobby local officials to allow parents to attend the game.

“Maybe [the CFP leaders] need 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,” Kelly said. “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.

“Somebody’s got to wake up in that room and figure this out, or you might as well call this the professional league. I am so sick and tired of this playoff committee talking about having sites where you can’t have parents at and their families. It’s ridiculous.”

Kelly also suggested that the power the Rose Bowl wields among playoff organizers kept the semifinal from being moved.

“We’re worshiping the ashes of tradition,” he said. “That can be the only reason.”

Last week, the director of the New Orleans Health Department said attendance at the Sugar Bowl — the site of the other CFP semifinal Jan. 1 — will be limited to 3,000. More fans will be allowed to attend the championship game scheduled for Jan. 11 in Miami Gardens, Fla., a state in which capacity limits at sporting events have been lifted.

The playoff began with the 2014 regular season as a replacement for the Bowl Championship Series system, which sometimes produced disputed national championships because it could not guarantee that the two best teams would meet in the postseason. No team has ever declined a playoff bid, which is offered to each of the top four teams in the final rankings voted upon by the selection committee. This year’s final rankings — along with the semifinal pairings — will be released Sunday. Notre Dame, should it be one of the top four, could be placed in the Sugar Bowl semifinal, where parents would be allowed.

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Newsrust: Rose Bowl will be played at Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium
Rose Bowl will be played at Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium
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