Aug 11, 2020

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Press Conference Transcript August 11: College Athletics

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Press Conference Transcript August 11: College Athletics
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis Press Conference Transcript August 11: College Athletics

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference on August 11 to discuss collegiate athletics amidst the coronavirus outbreak. Read the transcript of the briefing here.

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Governor Ron DeSantis: (00:22)
Well, good afternoon. It’s great to be here at Florida State at the Al Dunlap practice facility. I knew Al Dunlap. He was a very colorful character, but he was a phenomenal friend of Florida State. I also want to thank President Thrasher for hosting us, Coach Norvell, David Coburn, and then Josh and Keyshawn our great players who are here, for really just delivering a message, which I think is unified across the state. Recently there were discussions amongst different presidents of different conferences about whether they should just deep- six the football season entirely, and that caused a reaction of college players all around the country saying, “We want to play.” We’re here to say, from the State of Florida, “We want you guys to play.”

Governor Ron DeSantis: (01:14)
We believe that college athletics, football of course, but not just football … I know Coach Thrasher has seen me at football games, but he’s also seen us at the women’s soccer games, and the softball games, and they run the gamut here of a whole bunch of great, great athletics. This is integral to young men and women here at Florida State and across the State of Florida. We were last week talking about the importance of high school sports. We had a Florida State legend who some of you may have heard of, Charlie Ward, talk about not only the importance but the environment that sports provides at a place like Florida State is a safer environment for these kids than what they would have if they didn’t have access to this environment.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (02:02)
You know this is like a family, the people that you play with, the coaches, the trainers, administrators. They’re looking out for these kids. They want everybody to be safe, not just with respect to coronavirus, but all kinds of health issues that come up in an athletic season. So this is the safest place to be. To take away that season would be short-circuiting the dreams that so many of our student athletes have worked for, in many cases, their whole lives. We have so many student athletes who if it weren’t for the role of sports in their lives growing up, they may not have been able to get to this point where they can get an education. It’s been formative in terms of people developing work ethic and character, and we believe that discussions about short-circuiting the season are entirely misplaced.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (02:55)
I support Florida State continuing to play with the season as I do all the sports throughout the State of Florida. It’s very, very important, and I think that if you look at being a part of a program like Florida State you’re going to see … I mean someone like Josh is going to have, he had a lot of options about where to go. He chose Florida State. He obviously has options to play beyond this, and that’s important. People that can make a living at it, God bless them. It’s great. But this is a part of really a storied tradition. I mean you look at all the people that have come before, who’ve walked through this university, the people that have been out on Doak Campbell Stadium and played some very important games, you become part of that culture, and that’s something that you really just can’t replace.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (03:44)
So whether you’re somebody who’s destined for the NFL, or whether you’re just somebody who’s going to have a productive college career, I think taking that away I think would do lasting damage, and so we want to make sure that that folks know that we value the opportunities for our student athletes in the State of Florida. We discussed a little bit, I asked President Thrasher and coach about, “Hey, if some of these other conferences shut down, can we welcome their players to the State of Florida?” I’m not exactly sure how the NCAA rules work on that, but I can tell you, if there’s a way, we want you guys to be able to play as well. So I’m happy to be here, I’m happy to support the efforts.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (04:29)
The protocols that they have in place are really even above and beyond what I would have even imagined, and I’ve been doing this stuff since February day in, day out, across the state in a variety of different contexts. This is probably the safest environment these student athletes can be in. Not just for coronavirus, but for a whole host of other reasons, and I think they’re going to do it the right way. We appreciate what Florida State means to the State of Florida, and I told the players before, ” Yeah, I would much rather be able to watch college football just as a fan, but honestly, it’s not about the fans. I would be willing to not watch at all as long as those guys had the opportunity to follow their dreams.”

Governor Ron DeSantis: (05:12)
That’s really what it’s all about. Those student athletes who’ve worked so hard to get to where they are. We’re going to introduce some of the folks. I think everyone’s going to make a few comments. I’ll have a little bit of a discussion and then we’re happy to take questions. President Thrasher, thanks for your leadership. Obviously we’re here to talk about sports, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t commend you for Florida State’s academic achievements and how far they’ve improved in the rankings under your leadership, to be ranked even higher than I think we had planned you could get this quickly. So thank you for doing that, and we look for great things to come.

President John Thrasher: (05:46)
Thank you governor, and thank you for your leadership on all those aspects of university life and what we’ve accomplished. We appreciate the support that your office has given us. But I particularly want to thank the governor today for doing this. Let me just be very, very succinct with you all and what we’re about. Our players want to play. They want to play because they’ve been involved in this sport for many, many years. They think we have, as the governor said, safe protocols in place. They think that we have the right atmosphere to go out and play football. Our coaches want to coach. They came here to coach football.

President John Thrasher: (06:24)
Coach Norvell has got a great game plan together for the season, great game plan for the practices in terms of safety, and all of that, and I think they’re both ready to play. We know that we can do it safely, and what we frankly want to send is a message to some of the other schools that may be teetering on whether or not to play football. We think it’s in the best interest of our student athletes for us to play football. We can do it safely, and we can do it productively for them, as well as the absolute culture of our university, and certainly this community of Tallahassee. We’re ready to do it. I want to be able to go to the president’s meeting, the next president’s meeting of the ACC presidents and say, and I will be able to, “Our governor is behind us. Our coaches are behind us. Our team is behind us, and let’s get ready to play football because we’re ready to do it.”

President John Thrasher: (07:17)
I think all of these red herrings that are out there that have been talked about, frankly, we’ve dealt with. We’ve dealt with for the entire time that we’ve been getting ready to play football. We’ve tried to imagine every single circumstance that could happen, and we think we can do it safely. David Coburn has done a great job in that regard. Our first game is September 12th. We’re ready to play. I plan on making sure that our friends in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and frankly our friends in other conferences, understand that student athletes really do want to play football this year, and we ought to give them that opportunity. I’m going to turn it over to David.

David Coburn: (07:58)
I just wanted to say thank you to the governor for this effort. We really appreciate it. We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of our players and our staff. We’re very comfortable with where we are. We’ve had a lot of really good medical advice, both locally, and from the conference, and nationally, and we’re comfortable that we can give this the best shot that can be given. So thank you again governor, we appreciate it.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (08:25)
Absolutely. Thank you for how thoughtful you all have been about this upcoming season. Coach Norvell, we’re excited that you’re onboard here in the State of Florida. Let me just publicly welcome you. I know you’ve been the coach for a while now, but we really want to … I think there’s a lot of enthusiasm here. I think a lot of people are very excited. I know you got a lot of great talent and a lot of players that really want to play. So thanks for your leadership, and I’ll turn it over to you for some comments.

Coach Mike Norvell: (08:54)
Well governor, thank once again for being here. It means the world to not only our team, our program, our state, but especially these players, because the amount of work, some of the circumstances, that they’ve had to work through over the last seven or eight months, it’s been challenging. I’ll tell you, their response has been incredible. I’ve got to commend President Thrasher, David Coburn, all of our athletic training faculty, everybody that’s in place within the medical community that has set up a protocol to keep our guys safe, and to be able to provide them with a facility that they can come to every single day and know that they get to follow their dream.

Coach Mike Norvell: (09:34)
They get to live out, and they continue to build the relationships with their teammates to play the game that they love. Every student athlete that we have here came to be able to play the game at an elite level, but also to get an incredible education. Within this family we are bringing that all-inclusive approach, and the growth that I’ve seen from this team, it’s been truly special. To be able to respond to some of the adversity that has shown up, to be able to follow protocols, to be able to sacrifice some of the things that-

Coach Mike Norvell: (10:03)
To be able to follow protocols, to be able to sacrifice some of the things that you might desire to do at times, to make sure that we’re doing things the right way, to be able to provide that opportunity, it’s been a true joy to watch. And these guys, they’re enjoying every aspect of practice. Well, maybe not every aspect of practice, they’re enjoying most parts of our practice, but they’re excited about the opportunity to continue to follow their dreams and to play this game together. And to be able to represent not only this university, UR program, but their families. And it’s to celebrate the journeys that it’s taken for them to get here. And so you being here today, your support, your leadership, we’re so very grateful for. And so thank you sir.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (10:42)
Great. Well, we’ve got a couple of the players here who had a chance to visit before. Josh, what came out of IMG Academy, he’s originally from Baltimore. And I was like, “Who did you decide between Florida State and what other colleges?” And he’s like, “I think pretty much all the colleges were after me back then.” So we’re glad that you chose Florida State, he had some injuries last year, but he’s got a really, really bright future not only as a ‘nole, but be able to, with the ability, to play at the next level. So Josh, can you tell the folks what the season means to you, if you weren’t able to play, what effects that would have on just your life? Not only as an athlete, but just as a young man.

Joshua Kaindoh: (11:24)
So me personally, I’ve been playing football since I was in second grade. Every year, it’s been school and football, and it’s so weird that we even here having this conversation about potentially not playing. But last year I had a deal with my leg. I got my season taken away from me. The first time I really got football taken away from me. And I’ve put in so much work, day in and day out, even when school didn’t open back up and stuff like that. And to get to the point where I’m at right now, and to potentially have this season taken away. It would just be heartbreaking.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (11:57)
We also have Keyshawn Helton, joined Florida State out of the Florida panhandle. Had played at Pensacola. Can you talk about what the season would mean to you, not being able to play, and how that would affect you in terms of your development? Again, not just as an athlete, but as a young man.

Keyshawn Helton: (12:15)
Yes, sir. Thank you for having me, Governor. But for me, as Josh said, I went through a season in the injury last year. And as you also said, I’ve been playing football since I was four years old. And from day one, out of my injury, I’ve been preparing myself and then grinding, getting ready for a potential season. And to have a season taken away from me, another year of not playing football, would just be a disappointment.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (12:44)
Can you guys both speak to, you know there’s some say that there’s a fear of, if you guys are playing football that could potentially expose you to the virus. But in terms of just athletes generally, if you take sports away, they’re still going to be having contact with folks. They’re still going to be doing things. But it’s just probably going to be in a less structured environment.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (13:05)
Is that how you see it?

Joshua Kaindoh: (13:07)
Yeah. So here with all the protocols and procedures that are going on, I don’t know where would be safer you know, because if we’re out there and we’re just doing our own thing basically, it’s like accountability, you know what I’m saying? Accountability. So I think we have all these protocols in place and this, and you trust that your teammates are going to be accountable, handle with their business and follow the protocols and stuff. I think that’s our best bet, rather than just having, you send everybody home and have no idea. You have no control over what they’re doing.

Keyshawn Helton: (13:43)
This is a safest environment for us, just to be at this facility. Coach Norvell and our athletic trainer Jake has put together some protocols that’s the safest for us. You talk about 18 to 22 year olds just quarantining at their house. That’s unrealistic. That’s unrealistic, there’s so many other things that guys are going to go and do, which is not safe. So being here with my team and all of us together, it’s the safest for us.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (14:09)
Josh, can you talk about, obviously you had injuries last year, you’re coming here, obviously want to have a great season. And then what are your aspirations beyond Florida State in terms of playing at the next level?

Joshua Kaindoh: (14:23)
I want to go pro. Go pro. You know, so getting hurt last year and thank God for healing me and allowing me to come back and I need to play, I need to get some film, some good tape. And if I don’t get that film, it’s just so many… It’s so gray, such a gray area. So it’s like if we don’t play, I really don’t know. It’s too uncertain for me to even say anything, you know.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (14:55)
Coach, can you just talk about, you know you’ve obviously been in football a long time. Obviously, you know the X’s and O’s in playing, but just on kind of a developmental level, character, discipline, what does that mean to kids to be able to come through a program like that? Whether they’re going to be a first round pick or whether they’ll never put on the pads again after their final game.

Coach Mike Norvell: (15:17)
And that’s what the greatest thing about the game of football is, it mimics life. And being able to count on each other, to be able to be accountable to whatever standards, whatever obligations that you have, whether it’s with your family, with your teammates, to a job. To have that daily structure, to have to live up to a certain standard and then just to continue to improve. And that’s our message every single day. I want these guys to be able to go out and be the best version of themselves in all aspects of life. That doesn’t mean whether it’s raining or whether it’s snowing, which honestly we don’t get a whole lot here in Florida, but regardless of what the circumstance is.

Coach Mike Norvell: (15:55)
I mean, go out there and give everything that you have, and don’t worry about being on the journey just by yourself, but embrace the relationships, embrace the brothers that you get to be a part of and embrace the leadership that you have. And then just continue to push yourself every day to make sure that you’re making the right choices. And then you can go out there and achieve whatever dream, whatever goal, whatever aspiration that these guys want to accomplish, there are no limits. But it’s because they’re a part of something that’s bigger than themselves. And it’s still providing that platform, that opportunity. And I love hearing these guys talk about the accountability piece, because that’s what it is every day. And this provides them with that structure and those relationships on a day to day basis.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (16:36)
Which, if they didn’t have this to come to, there would not be very much structure available.

Coach Mike Norvell: (16:43)
That’s one of my biggest concerns, is that if the football season is taken away from us, you hear the stories of our young men, and we have two guys represented here, I’ve got another a 118 that are sitting in our locker room right now. These guys want to play. They want to be a part of this team. They want to grow together. They know that the protocols that are in place are safe, they know that this is a place that they can come to and continue to develop in all aspects. And I worry if that’s taken away from them, not only what is that going to do to them mentally and having to experience more challenges, more setbacks, more things that are taken away from them.

Coach Mike Norvell: (17:21)
But they are here voluntarily because when we came back and had our mandatory workouts, we presented that to our team, to our staff, everybody involved. The choice is theirs. We’re going to provide this for them so that they can come here and feel safe and to be able to grow and develop. And I’m just so proud of our guys and the way they’ve handled themselves. And obviously they’re excited about what the future holds and they want to be a part of this team moving forward, this season.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (17:48)
Did you have any players choose not to come back?

Coach Mike Norvell: (17:51)
We did. We actually have had two players that both had unique situations that chose to opt out for the season. And I told them, I absolutely respect their decision. You know, developing into a man is about making decisions, making choices. And those two young men have chose to sit out this year, and as an administration we are fully supporting them, and they obviously they have their scholarship, they’re going to continue with their education. But once again, it is a choice. And we have a football team right now, that’s choosing to want to play. They’re wanting to be a part of this program and continue to work for this season.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (18:30)
So if they choose not to participate, given the circumstances, you’re still honoring the scholarship and then they’ll have the eligibility next year?

Coach Mike Norvell: (18:38)
Absolutely. And that was something that was not only with players, but with our staff, because our staffs, we all have families, and this is an all inclusive family. And so we all want to be able to be there to support each others. And that’s something that’s been really great, to see us come closer throughout this circumstance. Great,

Governor Ron DeSantis: (18:56)
Great. John, whatever you can say, just about the state of play in this, because it seemed like people were planning on playing, and then it seemed all of a sudden you started to see all these changes, and the players obviously were voicing, I know the fans have now been more vocal. So what’s going on behind the scenes, as best as you can tell us?

President John Thrasher: (19:16)
What happened over the weekend, there was a meeting of the commissioners of the five big conferences and two of those commissioners expressed some real concerns about continuing to play. And they listed a number of issues. There was one new issue that came out, and that was from a physician apparently that represents the NCAA, about myocarditis and the potential impact that would have as a result of COVID. That seemed to get a lot of attention nationally, and I think it caused a lot of the other conferences to say, “Let’s take a step back. Let’s review where we are.” Our presidents met two days ago, and we went through all of that. And the issues that were presented, frankly none of them we had not considered before. So we did agree though, that we ought to go and look at the medical aspect.

President John Thrasher: (20:03)
So we did agree though, that we ought to go and look at the medical aspects again, just one more time to make sure our protocols, the other team’s protocols are in place. And we’ve been doing that. And we’ll probably have another meeting this week of the presence of the ACC. I feel relatively certain that the SEC is aligned with us. They want to play for the same reasons has been outlined by the coach and by the governor and David. They want to play, we think the Big Ten and the Pac-12 probably are vacillating a little bit in some of the schools, but not all of them. And that’s one of the reasons we wanted to try to get together. Thank again, the governor for taking the leadership on this, to see if we can send a message that these schools that are participating and want to play have done it the right way.

President John Thrasher: (20:51)
We’ve put the protocols in place for medical aspects. We have done everything else we think that we can do to make it a safe environment. And we think we’re ready to play. As I’ve said, our coaches want to coach and our players want to play. It’s up to us to make sure the environment safe and I think we’ve done that. What we need to do now though, is send this message to the rest of those schools out there that may be teetering about whether to play or not and let them know that a university like Florida State University, which I believe is fairly respected in athletics as well as academics. Thank you, governor, I think is ready to play. And I think for the right reasons, and that’s the message we want to send.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (21:30)
David, can you just talk a little bit about if some of these conferences don’t choose to not play that may not necessarily bind every school. And so you may have individual schools in some of those conferences to be looking for games and could really throw some schedules up in the air and people be scrambling to get games going.

David Coburn: (21:51)
It’s going to be very hard to tell what’s going to happen if some of the schools in some of these conferences that decided not to play wish to continue to play. Obviously, I don’t know what their conference bylaws are like, but certainly some of the coaches and athletic directors are indicating that some of them may be looking for games. So it could get very interesting governor.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (22:13)
Good. Well, I want to thank the players. Keep working hard guys. You guys have earned the opportunity to continue to compete. So we’re supportive of you and we’re supportive of your aspirations. Coach, we’re glad you’re here. We want you to be able to compete as well. And I know people are excited to see what’s going on. And John you have our support for the state of Florida as do all our universities. And I know Miami is right there with President Thrasher in terms of wanting the kids to be able to play.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (22:48)
And I know Florida USF, everyone I’ve talked to has been supportive of that. So we really appreciate putting the kids’ opportunities first. And I think when you hear about the protocols, I mean, whatever… I mean, I think for these athletes, the risk is very low, but whatever risks there is, to me outside of this structured environment, I think the risk goes up. I don’t think the risk goes down. With that, we’re happy to take some questions for anybody. So I’ll answer that, but if anyone wants to go on topic because we got the players, we got everyone here. So has anyone got anything about the…

Speaker 1: (23:22)
[inaudible 00:23:23].

David Coburn: (23:30)
Well, when they come in the morning, they’re temperature and symptom check, they have to answer a set of questions and then they’re banded. And they’re kept segregated from the rest of the athletic department staff. They’re socially distanced in their meetings. They’re required to wear masks throughout the building and on the way to and from practice. That we’re testing weekly now and we will probably go to biweekly testing during the season. Anyone who gets a positive test result, we do hard work on them. And we’ve been doing that. We’re going to continue to do that. So we’re very comfortable that we’ve done what the medical folks… actually, above and beyond what the medical folks have advised.

President John Thrasher: (24:26)
Could I just add one thing about testing. We now have our own lab at Florida State University. It’s licensed nationally in all the protocols that required to do that. We now have the ability of testing someone and returning those results within less than 24 hours. That’s a huge advantage for us. And I think other schools are trying to do the same thing, but it’s a huge advantage for us not only from a standpoint of testing. I agree with the governor. Sometimes we tend to… I think we’ve talked about a lot of over-testing. But I think for athletes, it will be very important. And I think that the contact tracing system that we have in place is also very, very… a good system that really gets us to understand if there are people that are at risk beyond that individual. So we’ve got a lot of good things in that regard.

Speaker 2: (25:13)
[inaudible 00:05:13].

Governor Ron DeSantis: (25:18)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s fine.

Speaker 2: (25:46)
[ inaudible 00:25:27].

Joshua Kaindoh: (25:48)
Like I said, we preach accountability. So I’m doing my best to come here to the stadium, handle my business, follow their protocols here. And then when I get home, just stay home. It’s that simple.

Keyshawn Helton: (26:02)
Likewise. Coming here and wearing a mask, washing my hands after everything I do. Just following those protocols that’s been set for us. When I go home, I’m home. I’m not going anywhere.

Coach Mike Norvell: (26:14)
And I think that’s something that when you look at our players, they want to play the game and they’re going above and beyond in all aspects to try to limit where they go to try to maintain as much social distance as possible. We all have to live lives and go different places, but they know what’s at risk and they want to make sure they’ll putting themselves in the best position to be able to play this game that they love.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (26:39)
And that, I mean, obviously I commend you guys for doing that and probably helps your football too. Because getting in these diversions, I’m not saying you guys would, but coach you probably would not want to be at parties or all that other stuff and just kind of keep the pedal to the metal, focus on the athletics and the academics and do it in a safe way. And I have no doubt that they’re going to try to do that.

Speaker 3: (27:00)
[inaudible 00:27:03].

Governor Ron DeSantis: (27:07)
I would support that, but I do think that the ACC, SEC, I think that we’re going to be in good shape. But if something were to radically happen, we would be supportive, of the schools doing it. But I don’t anticipate that. I don’t think John anticipates that as being necessary. Now, I did mention the schedule is what the schedule is now. As we all know, when the SEC changed their schedule, that took an important game to our state off the map. And so we’ll see if there’s any type of fallout from some of these other conferences. How that may provide an opportunity to play what I think is a very important rivalry game for the state of Florida. So I’ve told the both schools, I’m totally supportive of making that happen if there’s a way, but I understand. I mean, these schedules are what they are and there’s only limited amount of options at this point. Yes, sir.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (28:07)
Well, so the question was would I take executive action to do the FSU, UF game. And the answer to that is, I mean, that obviously would need to be done in collaboration. I mean, part of the whole thing with this… it’s not for one person with no checks to just be dictating these things. I mean, we’ve really got to work together. I know the players want to play the game. I know the coaches want to play the game. Everyone will want to do it. So it would be the type of thing where it’s more of just logistics, figuring out how all this shakes out in probably the very near future, and then seeing what our options are. But I think if you look back, I mean, we kind of set our calendar in some way to the FSU, UF game.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (28:49)
I mean, it’s just, we know when it gets to that point in November, we know what’s going to happen and we know all the great heroics that have happened in all these games through the year. So I personally just as a Floridian, I mean, I wouldn’t want to deprive these kids of that opportunity. I think at the same time, for them to be able to play the season, even under a little bit of abbreviation, I would take that bird in the hand. If that’s what we do that is much better than nothing for sure.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (29:28)
So the question is about this new executive order, unemployment. So there’s two possibilities. One, is to use federal CARES Act dollars for it. That’s not an option for us in Florida because those CARES Act dollars are obligated already. Now, they haven’t been, quote, spent, but it’s four plus billion that’s been obligated. And so we’ve got to do that. The other option is, and we’re investigating it and would do it if we can, is to potentially take a loan from the Department of Labor to our unemployment system and then pay out additional benefits as a result of that. But we’re looking to see what that would entail-

Governor Ron DeSantis: (30:02)
…that, but we’re looking to see what that would entail. My one concern I have is we obviously, this is a tough budget time for us. And so if I’m having to potentially have general revenue obligated for this, then that is something that would be very problematic given our circumstances. This labor thing may give us a way, but I also know, there’s only so much you can do through executive action. I mean, we’re now in the point where presidents just do that, but I want to make sure that there’s no legal risk for us if someone were to challenge this, then we’d be left on the hook. My guys are looking at that, but I think if we can do the Department of Labor enhanced benefit through that loan, we would want to do it to private, to give people some more relief.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (30:55)
I know the commissioner is working with them and obviously he’ll have to make determinations about that. Our perspective on this, particularly outside of our Southern Florida counties who are still in phase one is we want school districts to be offering parents a meaningful choice. If you want to keep your kid in distance learning, no problem. If you want that in person instruction, we got to figure out a way to do it. We were at a charter school in Hillsborough, and what they’re doing is really they’re finding a way, they’re being innovated. They’re creating a very safe environment and I think doing it in a way that the parents are really appreciative of. It’s interesting. They, at that school, they have a percentage of the parents who were opting for virtual to start.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (31:40)
They have more who are opting for in person, but even in that one instance, you see the choices being made. And I think that that’s fine. My fear is, for example, special needs kids, even Miami Dade, which obviously has faced much more severe outbreak than anywhere else in central Florida or the Tampa Bay area, they are doing in person for children with special needs right off the bat. And they’re obviously at a prevalence that although their prevalence is going down too, the trend has been good.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (32:11)
We want to see that continue, their prevalence is higher than theirs. So to not even give the children’s with special needs that in person instruction, we went down to Clearwater right across the bay a couple of weeks ago. And we had the teachers there saying, “I’m pleading, we need to have our kids in because the virtual is just not working for our situation.” When I see somebody like Carvallo in Miami Dade, going above and beyond to doing that, even though he’s under difficult circumstances, I ask myself, “Why can’t every school district do that?” And I think certainly Hillsborough could have done at least that. Yes, sir. I’m not sure that they could have done so. One, as you know because you cover this a lot, I have no involvement in that. I can’t put my thumb on the scale. Obviously, I don’t want Deloitte getting contracts personally because we’re investigating what happened with the unemployment system. At the same time, there’s a process that happens. There was a protest filed that is going to be adjudicated. There was also a negative recommendation sent from the Department of Economic Opportunity referencing what happened with the unemployment system. But I think what happened was they dropped their price so dramatically that it’s not clear to me that at that point they could have been denied it on neutral grounds. Maybe if you inject this issue into it, but I’m just not sure whether they’re allowed to do that based on the law.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (33:50)
My view would be whatever we can do within the law to put that on hold, I would support. I personally can’t do that because it’d be violating Florida law. But until we get the answers on why the state gave them $77 million for a product that the engineers who had to fix this told me, was not worth that, I would say, keep it on the pause, but I can’t personally do that and be consistent with the law.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (34:21)
No, I’m not because I don’t think that it was anything where she wanted to do. In fact, in some respects, we want these things to not be me be political. It would obviously would be really … It wouldn’t make sense to award that if you were thinking in those lines. I think that they just followed whatever the guidelines were. I don’t think the secretary personally was involved with it. I think that that’s just how the process went up, but there is a protest and I think that that process, that protest process, should go forward.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (34:52)
All right, well, we appreciate everyone coming out. We look forward, what is it? September 12th?

Speaker 6: (34:57)
September 12th, Governor.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (34:57)
September 12th. We’ll be the first game of the season. All the Seminole nation can know, they have my support, all our colleges, all our universities and their sports programs. As we’re here talking about football, because we all get so excited about it and it is very important because it is an engine for all the athletic programs. We do want to say that all these student athletes are important. I mean, we want the women’s soccer, we want to be able to watch them again. We want to be able to see … I mean, Florida State had a great basketball season going that cut short. I want to see them back in action. We want to see the softball and the baseball team again. All these are important. Football is kind of always the biggest sport in the state of Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (35:46)
And we obviously welcome that and appreciate it and we want to stand there for a football players, but we want to stand there for all our student athletes, because you know what? You may have some of these athletes that are going to play at the next level in all their different sports, but you got a lot of athletes who work their tail off to get here, getting a great education, having a great college career, and maybe that’s it for them, but that final season or one of their seasons, that means the world to those student athletes.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (36:13)
We don’t want to be in a situation where all that work was for not and they weren’t allowed to be able to apply their craft. And I have confidence that here at Florida State, you guys have really gone above and beyond in providing a safe, structured environment. Let’s just be clear, you don’t have sports, it ain’t like there’s not going to be activities going on with college students. In fact, it will be unsupervised. It will be unstructured. Just from a corona perspective, you would want the kids, I think, in the athletic program with all the folks who are so invested in their development, not only as athletes, but as young men and women. Keep up the great work and we look forward to hearing some good news. Hopefully the ACC makes it final and hopefully the SEC, I don’t have much question about that. I think there’ll be in good shape too.

Speaker 6: (37:03)
Thank you, Governor.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (37:04)
All right, thank you. Yes, sir. No. I think they need to start in August. Yeah, absolutely. I think most of them are ready to go and I think we need to give them the opportunities to be able to. You have some of these states like California, they’ve shut it down. I got great players out there who are now looking to come to Georgia, Florida to be able to play. Our message to those students is we want to provide that opportunity for you to play at the high school level as well. That means the world to so many of our student athletes. We talked about some of the college players who may not necessarily be pro, there’s a lot of high school players who may not be able to get to college on it, but man, that’s an important part of their development. Yeah, we think the August 24th is the way to go.

Governor DeSantis Roundtable

HAPPENING NOW: Governor Ron DeSantis will hold a collegiate athletics roundtable at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility in Tallahassee.

Posted by Fox 4 on Tuesday, August 11, 2020