Clemson football coach defends his beliefs when it comes to paying college athletes
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is tired of being portrayed by the national media as a guy who isn’t for his players’ rights.
Because of comments he has made in past years, some being taken out of context or the full quote not being written entirely, he has been ostracized by the media and by people who may not know him or his whole story.
Of course, in the last decade, college athletics has changed, and players’ rights are at the forefront, especially when it comes to the money-making-sports of football and men’s basketball.
This past Monday, California Senate Bill 206 was signed into law which will all California athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness through a third party. In other words, they can be paid through endorsement deals.
On the same day the California bill was signed into law, Swinney had no thoughts on the subject when asked about it on his weekly teleconference with the media.
“My thoughts are getting ready for Florida State,” he said. “That is it. There are people a lot smarter than me to figure out all of that stuff. I think that is a long time out.
“I don’t know enough about it, really, and I don’t need to. It does not affect me at all. I’m focused on trying to get ready for the ‘Noles.”
Swinney has been the target of criticism by so many in the media because he signed the largest contract in the history of college football last April, a 10-year, $93 million deal, including $50 million guaranteed.
Some in the media dug up old quotes of things he said in the past and pulled them out of context to make him seem like a coach who does not care about his players.
Swinney said in a Los Angeles Times article on Friday, he was tired of being the subject of “click bait” and he was ready to make a case of his view points, and how he loves his players and how he wants nothing but the best for them.
Clemson’s culture has been built a lot on Swinney’s own experiences in life and as a student-athlete who was not pampered and given anything. As a man who came from what would be dubbed now as an “at-risk home,” Swinney paid his own way in his early years of college and then walked on at the University of Alabama as a wide receiver.
He eventually earned a scholarship, but not without some struggles. It is those struggles that made Swinney value what he has earned today in becoming one of college football’s best coaches.
“My life changed through education,” Swinney said in the Los Angeles Times piece. “I saw a lot of great football players that the crowd roared for and this and that, and then all of a sudden I saw them at age 30. And they didn’t have their education. And life is tough. And I’ve never wanted that for my players. I want young people who value that experience, who value education.”
Swinney’s concern for playing players is some athletes will lose their drive or eagerness to get their degrees, especially knowing some of the temptations they face and the backgrounds they come from.
“See, the people who are on that side, they don’t want to value education,” Swinney said to the L.A. Times. “Everybody acts like that’s free. I mean, it’s $40-to-50,000 a year to go to Clemson. And that’s real money. That’s not like, you know, Monopoly, Candy Land, it’s real money that’s being paid. They’re being paid well, and I break that down with my guys every year.
“There’s a lot of kids walking off this campus in debt. I walked out of college with debt. I wish I had a scholarship the whole time. I didn’t. And it took me 10 years to pay that back.”
Swinney pointed out he is all for modernizing the scholarship, and has said it many times, but no one wants to report any of that. He points out in the article how “he loves the stipend for full cost of attendance and that programs are now allowed to feed the players as much food as they want. He wishes they could pay for the parents to travel to games. He’s open to a certain amount of money going into an annuity tied to each player’s graduation.”
“See, nobody ever writes any of this,” he says. “They say, ‘He’s against the player.’ Give me a break! I’m for the player! Tie everything to graduation, so you have the student-athlete in the collegiate model.
“The collegiate model is a beautiful thing. And it’s been a great thing. The scholarship for a long time was archaic, and it needed to be changed and addressed. Nobody wants to acknowledge that. Right? Because that doesn’t fit the story. You know, they’re supposed to be starving. These guys ain’t starving. These guys got money. They got cars, they got tattoos, because they’ve got money. It’s a different situation than when I was in school.”
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