Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was very adamant about and mentioned the possibility the Irish could opt out of the College Football Playoff if they were to earn a spot in the top 4 and families of the players were not able to attend the game.
The Rose Bowl is scheduled to host one of the CFP’s semifinal games on Jan. 1. However, with California’s stringent pandemic regulations, which will not allow anyone to attend a sporting event, the CFP is thinking about moving the game because parents of the student-athletes would not be able to attend.
Below is a full transcript of Kelly’s comments from Friday’s ACC Championship Game press conference regarding the possibility of Notre Dame opting out of the CFP if they get selected to play in a site where parents of the student-athletes are not allowed to be there:
“I’m not sure we’ll play in the playoffs if parents can’t be there, to be honest with you. Why would we play if you can’t have the families at the game? So, a bowl game? Yeah, we would opt out. 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? So, it doesn’t surprise me at all. Look, there’s so many sacrifices these kids have had to make, and to go to a bowl game where there’s no real opportunities for them to do anything … They’re going to stay on campus, then may show up at the bowl game 24, 48 hours prior to, so there’s no real reward. Go home and see your families, go home for Christmas. That’s the reward, really, more than anything else, than playing in a bowl game. And it’s just different. It’s not the bowl game’s fault. I get it. We’re in a pandemic, and there’s restrictions and things like that. We’ve got to think about the student-athletes in this situation, and not having a chance to share this with their families after being away and sacrificing so much, you can see why they wouldn’t want to play.”
Kelly on how Notre Dame would determine if it will accept a CFP spot if there is no answer on whether parents can be in attendance for the Rose Bowl:
“We’ll talk it over with our team. The players, they drive this. I don’t drive it. I’m echoing their concerns. I’m not the guy out there making this up, because it’s not about my family. It’s about their families. So, I’m a voice for our team, and they’re concerned. So, they’re focused on the ACC Championship, so that’s where their focus is. They’re not going to be speaking about these things. But if in fact we’re selected to be part of it, this will be number one on their radar. So, then, I’ll have to address it with our leaders as to how they feel about this, and certainly that will be the next topic that we’ll address after the ACC Championship Game.”
Kelly on the importance of the CFP ensuring parents can attend the games:
“Whatever I say really has no merit on what those people are going to do in their room, and I respect the question. I really do. But whatever I say is going to be a sound bite that’s going to come out 18 different ways. Here’s the only thing I’m going to say. They’ve got to figure out how to make sure that whatever sites they play at, that the parents are going to be watching their sons play. That’s what they’ve got to figure out. So, maybe they need to spend a little less time on whom 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. My kids have been on campus here 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. I’m going to have them here for Christmas. I’m going to bring in families that aren’t theirs during 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 just call this the ‘Professional League,’ because nothing speaks to this is just about having a playoff and we don’t care about the student-athletes. So, I know I went off on a tangent, but 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 on if his comments mean he would like to see the Rose Bowl removed as a CFP site because there is currently no clarity on attendance:
“Absolutely. And why can’t it be the Rose Bowl in Las Vegas, or can’t it be the Rose Bowl in another town? I mean, I get it. Where’s the flexibility for the student-athlete is all I’m saying. The one thing these kids have been is incredibly flexible, and then on the other side we can’t be flexible? It’s hard to imagine. So, anyway, we’ll deal with it. If we’re fortunate enough to be one of the four teams, it’s going to be a topic, and that’s all I’m saying. Our guys may come out of it, say you know what, this is what we’re going to do. We’re not going to wear a Rose Bowl patch. I don’t know. All I know is that it is a number-one topic for our guys if in fact they are selected.”
Kelly on why he thinks it is taking so long for the CFP to reach resolution on this matter:
“Really, tradition? We’re worshipping the ashes of tradition. That can be the only reason. Look, nobody’s going to trade out this year for next year. Next year’s going to be a revenue-producing year. So, nobody wants to come in and say all right, we’ll take it. So, I’m not in that meeting. I can’t imagine what push has been applied. But they’re not thinking about the student-athlete, and that’s the issue. Maybe there’s deals that have already been cut behind the lines that I’m not aware of, that they’re going to get the parents in there and Coach Kelly should get off his soap box and shut up, and hopefully that’s the case. But I’m just making it clear that if our team is selected and we’re fortunate enough, the next issue will be let’s make sure that the student-athletes get their families in to watch them play.”
The holiday season has arrived and it is time to get your favorite Tiger what they love. Up to 70 percent off today.
Please stay safe and get your officially licensed Clemson gear right here!