FSU’s Norvell: ‘Right decision’ to postpone Clemson game

FILE – In this Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell speaks at a news conference in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State’s struggles continue to mount. On Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, the Seminoles lost several players for the rest of the season, some to injuries and others say it is time to move on. (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) — Florida State coach Mike Norvell is standing by the decision to postpone the Seminoles game Saturday against No. 4 Clemson after the Tigers reported a positive player test following their arrival on campus, adding that even though he and his team wanted to play there were safety concerns.

“We believe the right decision was made,” Norevell said on Monday.

The game was called off a few hours before kickoff Saturday when medical teams from both schools could not agree that it was safe to play.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney signals to his players during the second quarter against Notre Dame in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. (Matt Cashore/Pool Photo via AP)

Clemson offered Florida State an additional round of testing and delaying the start until later Saturday, or even Sunday or Monday.

Tigers coach Dabo Swinney was angered by the decision, saying Florida State administrators were using COVID-19 as “an excuse” not to play.

Norvell, who had COVID-19 and missed a game earlier this season, said the decision was entirely based on the coronavirus and the safety of his team.

“Football coaches are not doctors, some of us might think that we are,” Norvell said. “There’s a reason why those (medical) advisors are able to make those decisions from the information provided.”

Norvell said he tried to call Swinney on Saturday, but the two did not connect and have not talked.

Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said Monday on the ACC Network that Swinney is his players’ biggest advocate — “And he should be.”

“His comments,” the AD said, “while maybe a little disheartening to some, really were his feelings.”

Radakovich has said he will speak with the ACC about rescheduling the game. Both teams have open dates on Dec. 12, a week before the league’s championship game.

Swinney said Sunday that Florida State forfeited the game and if the Seminoles wanted to make it up, they should play at Clemson or pay the athletic department’s $300,000 or so in traveling expenses.

Norvell expects the teams will meet at Florida State on Dec. 12.

In a response to Swinney’s comments on expenses, the Florida State coach said If Clemson needs donations to make up the trip’s cost so the game is played at Florida State, “then I’ll sign up to make one.”


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