Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney has spoken out about the Florida State Seminoles and Saturday's canceled game. The two teams were supposed to play in Tallahassee, but a Clemson offensive lineman tested positive for COVID-19. Florida State canceled the game, and Swinney responded by saying "COVID was just an excuse" for the team to back out.
"I'm incredibly disappointed that we did not play," Swinney said on Sunday. "And I'm incredibly disappointed in the decision to not play. No one ever had an illusion that there wouldn't be a positive on a Friday. ... The standard to cancel a game was not met. A guy testing positive on a Friday does not cancel a game." When Clemson informed the ACC and Florida State about the positive test on the roster, the Tallahassee university responded by citing the health and safety of the players as the primary reason for canceling the matchup.
"If they want to play Clemson, in my opinion, they need to come to Clemson, or they need to pay for all expenses. Other than that, there's no reason for us to play them."
Dabo Swinney didn't hold back in his first remarks since Saturday's postponement.November 23, 2020
The head coach continued and said that he was on the board that came up with the policies surrounding canceling games. This group discussed expanding the rosters to account for positive tests, as well as what circumstances would lead to a game not taking place. Swinney proclaimed that "never once" was it said that a game would be canceled due to a player testing positive on Friday.
"We offered to test again. Play Saturday night. Sunday," Swinney continued. "Monday. And it was declined. We met the standard to play, and we should've played." Additionally, TMZ Sports reported that Swinney called for Florida State to reimburse Clemson for travel expenses. The total is reportedly in the "$300,000 range."
"To me, the Florida State administration forfeited the game," Swinney said. "And if they want to play Clemson, in my opinion, they need to come to Clemson or they need to pay for all expenses. Other than that, there's no reason for us to play them. We were there, we were ready and we met the standards."
The ACC is currently trying to figure out a date to play the game. However, this matchup may not take place during the 2020 season depending on how Florida State responds to Swinney's comments. For now, Clemson will look forward to a Saturday game against Pittsburgh.