Clemson’s Dabo Swinney says Florida State used COVID as ‘excuse’ to cancel game

Dabo Swinney isn’t happy that his Clemson team’s scheduled Nov. 21 game against Florida State was postponed. 

Speaking to media in a Sunday press conference, Clemson head coach Swinney said, “This game was not canceled because of COVID. COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game.”

In the ACC’s announcement Saturday that the game was postponed, the conference wrote that “both teams’ medical personnel were unable to mutually agree on moving forward with the game.”

Clemson’s athletic director Dan Radakovich spoke before Swinney on Sunday evening. He said that the Tigers tested more than 150 individuals Friday and that one test came back positive. According to ESPN, it was a player who tested positive, and he traveled with the team before his test came back positive Saturday morning. The ACC also noted that “both teams continue to adhere to the minimum outlined protocols within the ACC Medical Advisory Group report.”

Swinney paralleled this weekend’s situation to what happened with Trevor Lawrence earlier in the season before Clemson played Boston College. Swinney said Lawrence practiced the first half of the week before sitting out Thursday after his positive test had come back.

Radakovich said that Clemson’s trip to Florida State cost the school about $300,000. Swinney clarified that he doesn’t blame the FSU coaches or players, but instead the administration.

“No one has ever had an illusion that there would never be a positive on a Friday,” Swinney said. “… A guy testing positive on Friday does not cancel a game. I was on every committee call for months since March and that was never the case.”

Saturday’s scheduled game in Tallahassee, Florida, was supposed to be Lawrence’s return from COVID-19 and would be the Tigers’ first outing since losing to Notre Dame on Nov. 7. Instead, there aren’t yet details on rescheduling of Clemson-FSU, according to Radakovich. 

During his presser, Swinney said that, “In my opinion, they forfeited the game,” and that whether Clemson would fly back to FSU to play a rescheduled game is a question for Radakovich. There’s nothing listed in the ACC’s COVID protocols for what would constitute a forfeit. 

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