DALLAS, TX (WIS) - The Clemson Tigers could be without three players for this weekend’s Cotton Bowl.
During Monday’s press conference, head coach Dabo Swinney announced that defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, freshman tight end Braden Galloway, and junior offensive lineman Zach Giella.
Swinney said the players tested positive for a substance called ostarine.
“We’ve been dealing with that since Thursday,” said Swinney. “I think that the biggest thing is to make sure everybody understands because I’ve had guys fail drug tests before. And usually, when you say a guy fails a drug test, people write their own stories and they have their own innuendos and their own narratives and those types of things and, a lot of times, those things are accurate.
“In this case, I think it’s important – very important – that the message is accurate and that the truth is told because these are three great young men that I believe in and that I know, without a doubt, have intentionally done anything to jeopardize their opportunity or this team. I want to make that real clear.”
Swinney said Clemson athletics director Dan Radakovich was informed of the test results on Thursday by the NCAA. When the players were informed, Swinney said the players thought it was “a joke” when they were notified.
“They have no clue how this has gotten in their system,” Swinney added. “It could come from hair products. It could come from cream. It could come from protein. It could come from a product that you order or buy online that you think is nothing wrong with it. It could be anything.”
Swinney said a “B sample” will be tested for each of the three players. Once it’s tested, the Tigers will probably know the results of the test later this week. Following that step, there’s an appeal process that will likely take place for the national championship game if the Tigers reach that point. However, that appeal process only takes place if the second sample comes back positive.
While the suspensions aren’t the most helpful news for the Tigers, Swinney said his team still has a game to play come Saturday and they’ll have to put this distraction behind them.
“From a team standpoint, we have to get our team ready to play football,” said Swinney. “We’ve got to get our team ready to play our best four quarters. That’s our goal. So, we have to prepare as if it’s an injury and get the next guy ready.”
No. 2 Clemson takes on No. 3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium at 4 p.m. Saturday.