CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden usually is very careful when addressing the media,
keeping his guard up and deflecting questions he'd rather not answer with a
quick quip or laughing one-liner.
Such was the case early in his daily talk with the press following
Wednesday's practice, which came about an hour after the Atlantic Coast
Conference announced all Saturday football games would be postponed.
"The people who made the decision are a lot more qualified than what I am,"
he said. "I just go out here and coach and prepare for who you're going to
play. But whoever made the decision, I support the decision."
Asked if he agreed with the decision, which wiped out Saturday's game with
Duke at Death Valley, Bowden offered a curt response.
"I support their (decision). That's mine."
But later, in a rare moment of candor, Bowden's guard dropped for just a
moment when asked if returning to the field Saturday would have allowed for
enough of a mourning period.
"I don't know. A lot of people say you've got to go on like nothing
happened," he said. "But again, out of respect, that's why I think our
conference made the right decision. Out of respect for the people who lost
lives I think there ought to be a significant mourning time. But after that,
let's go on. I don't think it's backing down and running from terrorism
because you set aside a time for mourning.
"The country's still running. They're working in D.C., they're working in
Chicago, they're working in Atlanta, they're working in a lot of places. But
I do think we should honor those who lost lives, and I think the conference
has made a good decision by doing that."
The ACC joined the Big East and Pac-10 conferences in shutting down for the
weekend. Others, like the Southeastern, Southern and Big 12 Conferences, will
play as scheduled.
Clemson athletic director Bobby Robinson sat through "four or five"
conference calls over the course of the last two days. Finally, the league
reached a unanimous agreement Wednesday afternoon to postpone all league
events through Saturday.
"As a conference we've agreed not to play, and there are a lot of reasons for
it, obviously," Robinson said. "Respect for what happened, for the people
involved, and other issues, too, like travel and other things. But the bottom
line was everyone was in agreement not to play."
In a statement released by the ACC, commissioner John Swofford said the
decision came after much thought and discussion.
"Our schools thoroughly discussed the situation on their own campuses and
with each other and voted unanimously to postpone all athletic events through
Saturday," he said. "We are praying for the safety, health and recovery of
all of our fellow Americans."
The only available dates for Clemson and Duke to reschedule are Nov. 24 or
Dec. 1. Robinson said he'd prefer to avoid the November date, since it is two
days after Thanksgiving. However, until he talks with Duke officials the date
remains up in the air.
Three of the other four games scheduled for Saturday have been rescheduled.
West Virginia at Maryland will be played Sept. 29, , Northern Illinois at
Wake Forest on Nov. 24, and SMU at North Carolina on Dec.1.
The league previously had postponed two games scheduled for tonight. The Ohio
University at N.C. State contest has been rescheduled for Nov. 24, while Penn
State at Virginia will be played on December 1.