INDIANAPOLIS — It is less than two weeks away from the NCAA College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium. The big game approaches as numerous other bowl games have been cancelled due to COVID issues.
To date, five games have been cancelled. The most recent is the Holiday Bowl between UCLA and North Carolina State. The game was cancelled just hours before it was set to air on FOX59 on December 28.
The Indianapolis Host Committee is working closely with the Marion County Health Department to monitor case trends. The data has forced the NCAA to make a few minor protocol changes. All team and player press conferences will now be virtual. If a championship team has an outbreak before the game day on January 10, then the NCAA can push the game back. The latest it can go is January 14. So far, Marion County has yet to put any additional mandates in place.
“I don’t believe that you will see mandates, but I could be wrong of course,” said Melissa McMasters, administrator of the Immunization and Infectious Disease Program at the Marion County Health Department. “There are a lot of factors that go into that, and that includes positivity rate, vaccination rate, all of these other variables.”
The NFL recently reduced quarantine protocols to fall in line with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The old recommendations used to keep people in quarantine for ten days, but now the CDC has reduced that number to five. So far the NCAA has yet to announce a similar change.
“Now that we know more from the science about when people are infectious, we can kind of adjust the guidelines to allow people to come back to work with a mask in a sooner, you know, shorter, shorter amount of time,” explained Dr. Brain Dixon, director of Public Health Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute.
There are numerous events and concerts planned around the championship game, and this includes Playoff Fan Central at the Indiana Convention Center. Right now these events are still going on as planned, however organizers tell us they are ready to adjust if the game is rescheduled.