By Leo Haggerty


For the past five years, the football program at Clemson University has been at the forefront of any discussion when it comes to competing for the National Championship.  Over that span, the Tigers have made it to the College Football Playoffs every year and took home the hardware on two occasions.

Head Coach Dabo Swinney has built a dynasty in the foothills of the South Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains.  With a plethora of players on campus that will be playing football on Sunday in the near future, look for the Orange and Purple to continue to be in the CFP hunt.

Heading into the 2020 campaign, it looked like the CU Express was on track to make another trip to the CFP finals in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.  “Little Old Clemson”, as Swinney aptly refers to his team’s university, just keeps reloading.

Then, March arrived and the pandemic shut down all intercollegiate sports.  In late May, some colleges and universities decided to reopen their campus facilities for their athletes to return.

Clemson chose to start back on-campus workouts the beginning of June.  Since then, 37 team members have tested positive for Covid-19.  If you do the math, that right around a third of their roster.

The procedure for those that tested positive was that they must isolate for at least 10 days.  Those know to have been in close contact with those infected must self-quarantine for at least 14 days.  That’s a bunch of helmeted gladiators on the sidelines and the bad news.

Now the no-so-bad news.  If almost all of the Clemson football squad has been exposed, and have recovered, from the coronavirus, then they can move forward in August with full-scale practices.

I don’t believe that any of the Clemson coaching staff or administration actually came up with this plan.  I base that assumption on the fact that you still have coaches, and other members of the athletic staff, that are much older and would probably have a more difficult time fighting off the disease if the caught it. For those folks, from what we have learned so far, this could be fatal and no one would want to put anyone at risk unnecessarily.

Certainly, if my opinion was solicited, I would not recommend this course of action and I don’t believe Clemson University consciously went down that path.  I just think this is an unintended result of what has transpired.  Let’s hope it’s successful because the flip side would be devastating.