The Atlantic

Denial Isn’t Working Out for College Football

The coronavirus keeps infecting players and disrupting game schedules, but schools are acting as if the pandemic isn’t happening.
Source: Jim McIsaac / Getty / The Atlantic

College football is now the epitome of the way dysfunction becomes normalized in America. Fans of the sport woke up to the news Saturday morning that the ClemsonFlorida State game was postponed because a Clemson offensive lineman had tested positive for the coronavirus the day before. The matchup was one of 18 games that had to be canceled or postponed last week because of COVID-19.

Appallingly—though not surprisingly—Clemson officials still wanted to play the game, even though, in the preceding week, the Tigers had practiced and then traveled to Tallahassee, Florida, with a player who turned out to have the coronavirus. The Florida State team, which had not had a positive test since mid-September, wasn’t comfortable going forward, so the game was called.

But as in so many other conversations during the pandemic, the people adamant about their right to behave recklessly criticized on the Seminoles, accusing them of ducking his team. “This game was not canceled because of COVID,” Swinney said to reporters on Sunday. “COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game. I have no doubt their players wanted to play and would have played. And same with the coaches. To me, the Florida State administration forfeited the game.”

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