The ACC, Clemson, and Florida State announced this morning that the game between Clemson and FSU has been postponed. The medical personnel at Clemson and FSU were unable to agree on playing the game based on their knowledge about the COVID-19 situation with both schools.
As of today both teams have an open date on December 12th, a week ahead of the Dec 19th ACC Championship Game, so both teams would be available to play at this point.
The big question on everyone’s mind is what happened. It seems very odd that a game week would get this close to kickoff before getting postponed. TigerNet, as well as others, have reported that these conversations started when one of Clemson’s backup OL tested positive yesterday. The kicker is that the positive result apparently didn’t come back until last night, after the team had already traveled to FSU. To many this will seem odd, but the ACC actually uses the Wednesday COVID-19 test to determine if players and staff are okay to travel for a game.
Peter Thamel has reported on Twitter that part of FSU’s concern was that the player in question had practiced all week despite being symptomatic. The player was allowed to practice despite symptoms because he was testing negative. This report was also reported by Rece Davis on College GameDay.
Source: The issue that FSU medical officials had with Clemson’s positive test is that the offensive lineman practiced while symptomatic this week. (He had been testing negative.) After he did test positive from the Friday test, there was concern he’d been contagious.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 21, 2020
It appears that there was concern about the contract tracing and risk on FSU’s side and because of that they were unwilling to play. Florida State is also rumored to be very low on scholarship players right now, the lowest report I’ve seen is 57. If you put that together with concerns about playing a team that had a symptomatic player practicing all week it makes a lot of sense that FSU would be hesitant about playing.
Assuming all of these reports are accurate, it is remarkable that the ACC guidelines on COVID-19 make no mention about what a symptomatic person with negative PCR tests should do. This is concerning when the false negative rate can be anywhere from 2%-37% according to Harvard Med. But it does appear from what we know that Clemson followed all ACC and CDC guidelines. The CDC itself only mentions that a negative test means that someone tested negative when the same was taken, and to continue to take measures to stay safe. It does not appear that the South Carolina Department of Health mentions what to do in this situation either.
This whole episode appears to be a hole in the ACC testing guidelines, one that can easily lead to conflict between schools. For now Clemson will have another week off before playing hosting Pitt for Senior Day next weekend. Hopefully the player in question is able to recover without last effects and no other members of the team have contracted COVID-19.