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Brian Kelly says Notre Dame might not play in College Football Playoff if families can’t attend

The head coach of the Irish threatens to not play in the national championship.

Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on during the first half of the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium on November 27, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The campaign to get the Rose Bowl to allow spectators and families is going public, as today Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly made comments that his team might not participate in the College Football Playoff if the restrictions remain.

“I’m not sure we’ll play in the playoffs if the parents can’t be there,” Kelly said. “Why would be 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?”

The issue of attendance at the semifinal sites came to the forefront this week, after the College Football Playoff said it expected to keep one of the sites at the Rose Bowl, as scheduled.

The problem with that site in particular is that Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer told ESPN last month that sporting events, including pro and college football, will “remain spectator-free” after the county announced a stay-at-home order.

We’ll believe No. 2 Notre Dame would pass on a spot in the College Football Playoff when we see it. An undefeated team not wanting to play for the national championship, even if it’s in front of no fans, seems highly unlikely at first.

And that’s before the financial implications on passing on more than $20 million in revenue for participating in a game where you would be playing to win a national championship, something Notre Dame hasn’t done since 1988.

Sounds like a lot of sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing from Brian Kelly, but the end game might be more to get the CFP to move the game out of the Rose Bowl and Pasadena to another more fan-friendly location.