Clemson Coach Danny Ford said today his team would not have played North Carolina this afternoon if the ABC network had aired interviews with two players who publicly have accused Clemson of offering them money to attend the school.
Moments after his No. 2 ranked team had beaten No. 9 North Carolina, 10-8, Ford said, "If they had used those interviews we wouldn't have played the game."
Following a story Wednesday in The Washington Post that mentioned the possibility that Clemson may face NCAA probation after the season, ABC sent a reporter and a crew Thursday to Knoxville, Tenn., seeking interviews with James Cofer and Terry Minor.
Early this year, Cofer and Minor publicly accused Clemson of offering cash in return for their signing letters of intent. Their charges came after Ford refused to grant them releases from letters of intent they signed with Clemson. The players wanted the releases so they could attend Tennessee.
According to one source, one of the players repeated his charges on camera for the network. When ABC approached Ford and Clemson Athletic Director Bill McLellan Friday about responding to the interviews, they refused.
Friday night, McLellan, Donn Bernstein of ABC and David Cawood of the NCAA met here to discuss the interviews.
This morning, ABC officials in New York decided not to air the interviews, scheduled to run prior to the telecast of the game. "It would not have been fair," Bernstein said, "to use the interviews with the two kids without any response from Clemson. Two kids talking is not enough to go on, especially in a delicate situation like this."