Just minutes before the Florida State men’s basketball team tipped off against Clemson on Thursday afternoon, the ACC halted the tournament due to the threat of COVID-19.
Earlier in the morning, commissioner John Swofford held a press conference and stated that the quarterfinal games on Thursday would go on. But just hours later, Swofford reversed course and said the tournament was halted.
He frequently commented that the ACC had been in communication with the Centers for Disease Control as well as government and health officials in the last few weeks. Swofford said the situation is fluid and changing by the hour.
“The most important thing is the safety of our student-athletes, and the families,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “This is obviously a very challenging position for all of us to be in. But in light of the uncertainty and the moving parts of this scenario, the best thing is for us to take a step back.”
FSU (26-5, 16-4 ACC) has been declared the ACC’s automatic qualifier for next week’s NCAA Tournament, if the 68-team event is able to be played as scheduled. It is currently set to be played with only essential personnel and families but not open to fans.
Athletics director David Coburn was with the men’s basketball team in Greensboro, N.C., and he spoke with the FSU radio broadcast team of Gene Deckerhoff and Keith Jones after the cancellation of the basketball game.
“It’s the right decision,” Coburn said. “We have to take care of our athletes, and we’re going to do that. We have to take care of our fans, we’re going to do that. We’ll make some decisions moving forward about spring sports. That’s yet to come.”