December 3, 2021


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Rose Bowl College Football Playoff game on verge of relocating

It’s almost certain that the College Football Playoff semifinal will not be played at the Rose Bowl.

A decision is imminent on keeping the game in Pasadena or moving it to a site out of state that would allow the family and friends of participants to attend. The Tournament of Roses has been rebuffed in its two appeals to state health officials to allow 400-500 spectators in the 95,000-seat stadium for the Jan. 1 game.

According to individuals familiar with the discussions, the idea of keeping the game in Pasadena has lost steam. It’s up to the Pasadena City Council to decide whether to allow the “Rose Bowl Game” moniker to be used by another location.

A possible landing spot would be AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. However, that stadium is set to host the Cotton Bowl Classic on Dec. 30, which would make the turnaround a challenge.

ESPN announced this week that Capital One will be the game’s new presenting sponsor.

Tournament of Roses officials made a concerted effort for family and friends to attend the game, but received a two-page letter from the state Thursday night denying the latest appeal.

“We understand the honor and tradition that takes place in Pasadena in participating in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day,” wrote Erica Pan, acting state health officer at the California Department of Health. “However, there are no boundaries to this virus.”

Pan called it a “dynamic virus and situation,” and wrote, “This is why we have chosen a slow and stringent science-based approach to determining when activities should open.”

Possible participants in the game are Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Texas A&M. The announcement will be made Sunday.

If the Rose Bowl were to have this game taken away, a remaining question would be whether it would get a CFP semifinal next year or have to wait for its turn in the traditional three-year rotation.