Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said his team met the medical standard to play against Florida State and believes the Seminoles called off the game because of reasons other than COVID-19.
“This game was not canceled because of COVID. COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game,” an angry Swinney said Sunday night.
The fourth-ranked Tigers had arrived in Tallahassee, Florida on Friday when they learned a reserve offensive lineman had tested positive in the team’s latest testing. Clemson quickly isolated the unidentified player and sent him back to campus.
Swinney said players had eaten breakfast under a large “Ringling Brothers” circus type-tent in their hotel parking lot for final preparations when they learned they would not play.
“We listened to our medical folks and their assessment of the risk and we decided it wasn’t safe to play today,” Florida State athletic director David Coburn told the AP.
Clemson administrators offered additional testing to satisfy Florida State’s hesitation and playing the game later Saturday or Sunday or Monday. All suggestions were turned down and the Atlantic Coast Conference announced Saturday that medical personnel from both sides could not agree the game would be safe to play.
“To me the Florida State administration forfeited the game and if they want to play Clemson, in my opinion, they need to come to Clemson or they need to pay for all expenses,” Swinney said. “Other than that, there’s no reason for us to play them.”
The Tigers (7-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) were nearly five-touchdown favorites against the Seminoles (2-6, 1-6) in coach Mike Norvell’s first season.
The trip cost the Clemson athletic department about $300,000 according to athletic director Dan Radakovich.