College Football Playoff semifinal to relocate from Rose Bowl to Texas' AT&T Stadium

The College Football Playoff semifinal game set for the Rose Bowl will be relocated from the stadium in Pasadena, California, playoff executive director Bill Hancock announced in a statement Saturday night. 

The Jan. 1 semifinal game will be moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Hancock said in his statement that the game "will still be played in the mid-afternoon window" on New Year's Day. AT&T Stadium is the usual host of the Cotton Bowl, which this year is set for Dec. 30. 

"We are pleased that parents and loved ones will now be able to see their students play in the game," Hancock said of the move. 

The Rose Bowl  was 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 The Los Angeles Times. That allotment would have allowed players' families to attend.  

The Rose Bowl CFP semifinal game looks likely to move out of Pasadena this year.

"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," Hancock said. "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.

"Add this to the list of ways 2020 has demanded flexibility and last-minute accommodation from everyone in college football. Given all the complexities and difficulties involved, this is the best outcome for everyone concerned."

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The Times noted that Southern California's hospital ICU capacity dropped to 0 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.”

Said David Eads, Tournament of Roses CEO and Executive Director, in a statement: “We know that the decision was not an easy one to make. 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.”

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.

This would not be the first time the Rose Bowl was moved out of Pasadena. During World War II the game was played one year on the campus of Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Contributing: Jace Evans