Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney Defends Vacation During Coronavirus, Believes College Football Will Kick Off in August

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney insists he isn't bothered by the criticism he received last week for flying to Florida on vacation while most of the U.S. was in lockdown, suggesting being under the microscope came with having a high-profile job.

Speaking with CBS' Dennis Dodd last week, the 50-year-old revealed he had flown to his house in Florida with a private plane last month and was considering repeating the trip as a family holiday for Easter.

While South Carolina, where Swinney is based, isn't among the states to have issued a shelter-in-place order, his admission went down like a lead balloon as millions of Americans have been told to limit their non-essential travel and adhere to social distancing measures as the country battles with the coronavirus pandemic.

However, speaking on the Off Campus with Mark Packer show on SiriusXM earlier this week, Swinney defended his actions and suggested criticism to him was the proverbial water off a duck's back.

"The blessings are unlimited as far as the job I have and the things I get to do," he said.

"But there are a lot of negatives that come with this job, too, and one of those is criticism and that is something that I've just accepted. It doesn't matter what I say or what anybody says, there is going to be criticism. It doesn't surprise me at all.

He then doubled down on going to Florida on vacation, suggesting his only mistake was to give an honest answer to the question.

"You answer questions and you try to be honest and transparent and you answer your questions, and then you get blasted because somebody might not agree with your answer or something like that," he added.

"But I am not blasting somebody else out because they have a different opinion than me. it just comes with the territory. That's the way it is."

In the same interview with CBS last week, Swinney also suggested college football would not be affected by the coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the world over the last three months.

As this chart provided by Statista shows, by Wednesday morning almost 400,000 cases have been reported in the U.S., by far the highest tally in the world.

Almost 13,000 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. and over 22,500 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak using combined data sources.

Over 83,000 people have died globally since the outbreak of coronavirus began in Wuhan, a city located in China's central Hubei province, late last year. There have been over 1.4 million confirmed cases globally, with over 308,000 recoveries.

Coronavirus, update, April 8, Statista
The chart shows the spread of coronavirus cases across the U.S. as of April 8. Statista

Sporting events across the world have been canceled or postponed because out of the outbreak, but Swinney maintained college football will be all systems go come August.

"I have zero doubt that we're going to be playing," he explained.

"The stands are going to be packed and [Clemson's Death] Valley is going to be rocking. Zero doubt. That's the only thought I have, right there. All that rest of the stuff, I don't think about any of that."

"So that's just my mindset—I've got one plan, and that is to get the Tigers ready to play come September or late August or whatever. These guys are all training. So that's my preference is that we have camp August and get on and play the season. I don't have any doubt that's going to be the case. I have zero doubt."

Asked whether he still thought the college football will begin as planned, Swinney reiterated his thoughts.

"I am very realistic, and I am very open to whatever, but I believe this is what going to happen and my belief comes from faith," he explained.

"If you are not a person of faith, it is hard to relate to that."

Clemson went 14-0 last season a year after capturing the College Football Playoff title on the back of a perfect 15-0 campaign, but the Tigers' perfect record ended in the CFP National Championship Game, when they lost 42-25 to LSU.

Clemson, Dabo Swinney
Dabo Swinney, head coach of the Clemson Tigers, looks on during the game against the LSU Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Clemson's 29-game winning run came to an end with a 42-25 loss to LSU. Kevin C. Cox/Getty