Amid squabbling between two high-profile teams, the Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner showed his support for Florida State’s decision to postpone the Nov. 21 home football game against Clemson.
Two days after the game was canceled hours before it was set to kickoff, ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN, “At some point, you trust the medical people. … Our schools made it very clear from the beginning and continue to do so that we would be respectful of each other’s decisions during these unique times and that has been the case the vast majority of times.”
That hasn’t been the case since the Florida State medical staff’s Saturday morning decision to postpone the game. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney expressed his frustration Sunday, saying, “This game was not canceled because of COVID. COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game. I have no doubt their players wanted to play and would have played. And same with the coaches. To me, the Florida State administration forfeited the game."
Related content: Swinney: FSU Used COVID as Excuse to Postpone Game
Florida State officials decided to postpone after learning a Clemson player’s COVID-19 test came back positive Friday after he had traveled to Tallahassee for the game. Clemson director of athletics Dan Radakovich said the team was disappointed the game was postponed because they followed all the ACC’s protocols and spent about $300,000 to travel to Tallahassee.
Swofford said he’s talked to the Clemson and Florida State school presidents and athletic directors, while they have also had good communication with each other. He also told ESPN that every ACC team agreed to leave game decisions up to chief medical officers.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Norvell said Tuesday morning that the situation should have been put to bed after FSU’s medical personnel made the decision permitted within the conference’s protocols.
"You move on,” Swofford agreed. “There's a season to complete and respect to be shared within the league — as a vast majority of the time there is — and relationships to be maintained among institutions. That's expected in this league."
It’s possible the game will be rescheduled for Dec. 12, although Swinney has said that Clemson should be reimbursed for its original travel expenses to Tallahassee or Florida State should travel to Clemson.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported that Florida State expects to lose about $2 million in ticket sales, concessions and other revenue sources if the game is canceled instead of postponed.
Swinney further discussed the issue on his Tuesday radio show, according to the Democrat. After Norvell said “Everybody can handle things differently in their programs. We're only concerned with making sure our players are protected," Swinney appeared to respond by saying, "The last thing we would ever do is put somebody in harm’s way. I don’t give a crap what they say. I know what the facts are. I know what the standard to play is ... People can say whatever they want to say. Their coach can say whatever he wants to say. So I know this, our kids have been all in, all year. And done everything asked of them.
"If telling the truth is wrong, then guess what? Too bad. Because I’m going to tell the truth, and that’s exactly what happened."