Liberty has been steadfast in its desire to play football this season, and the Flames are scheduled to play a trio of ACC teams: NC State, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech. In order for those games to be played, Liberty must abide by ACC testing protocols in order for those games to happen; the problem is that those protocols don’t go into effect prior to the start of the regular season.
And Liberty’s testing practices right now are, uh, not good:
Liberty football coach Hugh Freeze said the program hasn't had a positive test in three weeks.— Damien Sordelett (@DamienSordelett) August 14, 2020
The screenings in the past two weeks haven't necessitated any tests because players are not showing symptoms.
Liberty hasn’t conducted a test in weeks because no one in the program has shown symptoms. That’s obviously a stupid approach given that lots of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic.
ACC officials aren’t happy about this.
Strong words from Syracuse AD John Wildhack on Liberty’s testing procedures... pic.twitter.com/0swenKgGiW— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) August 15, 2020
The players at Syracuse already have expressed significant concerns about their game against Liberty, and sat out a practice last week to make sure they were heard. Those concerns, clearly, are warranted.
This raises the question of whether or not Syracuse, NC State, or Virginia Tech might try to get out of these games, but there are muddy legal issues here—probably they aren’t issues that these schools can work around while we’re still in the preseason. (Because Liberty is not required at this point to follow ACC testing protocols.)
NC State’s contract with Liberty will pay the Flames $1.1M for the game. Canceling would cost $2M unless canceled under Force Majeure which would be iffy on how a potential violation of COVID testing guidelines could be included & would require rescheduling when conditions allow.— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) August 15, 2020
Two million bucks is a hefty fee for any athletics department even in the best of times, and we are far from those, what with the specter of lost football revenue hovering over everybody. While I’m sure all three ACC schools are doing their legal due diligence, I’m guessing we won’t see any of them cancel these games, short of a legitimate player mutiny.
That’s unfortunate, but at the very least, this should reinforce the idea that Liberty is far more trouble than it’s worth. Next time, how about just don’t schedule Liberty in the first place.