Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney issued a scathing rebuke of the Florida State program Sunday night, after the Seminoles chose to not play the Tigers.
"If the standard of play was zero positive test, then we would have never had a season," Swinney said. "This game was not canceled because of COVID. COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game. And to be honest with you I don't think it has anything to do with their players. I have no doubt that their players wanted to play, and would have played. And same with the coaches. To me, the Florida State administration forfeited the game."
The Tigers had one player test positive for COVID-19 Friday who traveled with the team, and just one positive is not a prerequisite to postponing a game under ACC guidelines.
Swinney continued to express his displeasure with the Seminole program Monday, following FSU head coach Mike Norvell's questioning of the program's handling of the situation during his press conference.
"I think we’re all pretty disappointed in the situation," Swinney said during his call-in show Monday night. "The rules have been one way for 10 weeks and then all of a sudden they change on a Saturday morning. So it was pretty disappointing.
"I know what the facts are. I laid them out very clear. And you know, I don’t make the rules. And our medical people run all of that. We way met the standard to play. It’s a shot at our medical people. Point blank. And I also know for a fact that Pitt traveled there and had a kid test positive there, and they still played the game. That’s kind of interesting too."
Swinney added, "The last thing we would ever do is put somebody in harm’s way. And it’s an insult to the credibility of our program, the credibility of our medical people. And we all agreed to the same rules, and just magically those rules changed on Saturday morning. I don’t give a crap what they say. I know what the fact are. I know what the standard to play is. I know why the rosters were expanded, because we anticipated positives on Friday. So we said we needed to take more players. The only thing that was going to cancel a game is if you got below 53 scholarship players, you didn’t have at least seven scholarship offensive linemen, or your local community was overrun with hospitals, etc. etc. And other than that you play the game."
Monday night, the ACC's commissioner John Swofford issued a statement to ESPN reporter Andrea Adelson saying, "I don't think there's any blame here. We've got to remember the world in which we're operating right now. People are following the protocols as agreed upon before the season started, and people are trying to make the best decisions for the right reasons, and you respect that."
On the heels of Swofford's statement, Tuesday—during his weekly press conference— Swinney did not walk-back his comments regarding the reasoning for Saturday's postponement.
"I have no idea. I mean, they say what they said, we said what we said," Swinney said> "We obviously don't agree that's why it was, you know, that was well, it was very clearly stated that the medical groups, did not agree. And so, but I trust our medical people here."
"I said they should be a forfeit, because at the standard of play. And we even offered to play Saturday Sunday, Monday. So in my opinion, we did everything we could our medical group was 1,000% on board we're playing the game. So, you know, and again I felt like, you know, I trust our people here, I have no reason not to," Swinney added
When asked about comments made by FSU head coach Mike Norvell, Swinney again took a shot at FSU.
"We're not doctors, not trying to be a doctor," Swinney said. "I just listened to the doctors, you know, so, you know, listen I'm not really worried much about what they say down here in Tallahassee, that's for sure. I've been in this league for 18 years, been head coach here 12 years, I think they've had three head coaches in the last four years. So decisions that they may, I'm not gonna worry about advice from Tallahassee. I trust the people here, and trust our doctors, 100%. "