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Death To The NCAA

Dabo Swinney Reaches New Level Of Self-Parody

5:33 PM EST on December 21, 2022

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney
John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney, who has previously railed against college football players being able to make money, has some fresh thoughts to share about the NIL era.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Swinney was asked about NIL and launched into an answer about how Clemson was well situated to help young men navigate the new world of NIL. Making sure to position himself and the school as the people protecting the players' interests, Swinney said, "Just like with applied science and nutrition and strength and conditioning and all those things. This is just another area that’s important."

Athletes capitalizing on their labor in something approximating a market, a concept Swinney has previously shown he doesn't grasp, is of course not at all like nutrition and strength training, though it's understandable why Swinney would want to lump all of these things together under the banner of "what Clemson football provides to players." NIL unquestionably gives more agency and freedom to players; the more football coaches can claw that back by positioning themselves as players' benefactors, the more they can limit how athletes conceive of and exercise their economic rights.

Then Swinney delivered a line with a smugness suggesting he'd been working on it for a little while:

Swinney's line delivery here could just as easily belong to some two-bit youth pastor trying to teach an abstinence seminar to a captive audience of bored teens. He finds himself in a similar predicament, too: The world is changing around him quicker than he'd like, and all he's got left to try and maintain some control over the situation is a less-than-charming drawl and Christ-based wordplay.

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