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Dabo Swinney on Transfer Portal: 'Grass is Green Where You Water It'

Head coach Dabo Swinney talks the unintended consequences of the transfer portal at the Clemson Media Days last week.

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney's stance on the transfer portal has been well documented.

The Clemson head coach has long maintained that he prefers to recruit high school kids, choosing to reward hard work and loyalty rather than looking for a quick fix. It is an integral part of the foundation of the culture Swinney has created inside the Clemson program and something he very much believes in.

Speaking at Clemson's Media Day ahead of the ACC Kickoff last week, Swinney said when he looks at the transfer portal, things have played out about the way he expected.

"It's about what I thought it would be... crazy," Swinney said. "I mean, you know, I don't get a vote in those things. I would have liked to see that different because again, young people make emotional and irrational decisions a lot, not all the time. You throw in Name, Image and Likeness, you've got tampering, and you've got no reason for pause. No consequences. You know, the grass is greener, and it's really not. The grass is green where you water it."

Swinney then touched on an aspect of the portal that rarely gets talked about. That is the number of players who find themselves left with no other options once they have left their previous school and that's why Swinney would like to have seen the new transfer rules tied to graduation in some way.

"I mean there's so many kids in the portal and not enough spots for them," Swinney said. "The intention is good, and I agree with allowing everybody to be able to transfer, I just personally would have tied it to education. I would have tied it to, okay, you can transfer anywhere you want, anytime you want, but you sit a year. But guess what, when you get to your senior year or your graduation, you get that year back, so you don't lose anything. It just creates a little bit of reason for pause."

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"We may not all agree on a lot of things and y'all probably don't believe in half the things I say but, you know, surely we can all agree on we probably thought differently at 22 than we did at 18. You know, you process things differently as you mature a little bit and things aren't usually sometimes as we perceive them as young people."

It has been widely assumed by many on the outside looking in that Swinney is completely against bringing in transfers. However, that is not the case. The Tigers head coach just doesn't see the need to bring them in at a school like Clemson, not with the culture the program has in place.

"I think the intent is good, but again, a lot of unintended consequences," Swinney said. "If I wasn't at Clemson, I wouldn't sign a high school kid. If I'm Jeff Scott at South Florida, why you gonna sign a high school kid? Because if their good somebody's just gonna take them right off your roster. Just sign a bunch of transfers that fit what you want."

Swinney once again reiterated that he thinks the intent behind the new transfer rules were good, but with the new NIL legislation that took effect in July, along with some other changes the sport has seen in recent years, college football is starting to see some of those unintended consequences many coaches were concerned about.

"It's just, you know, I don't think that's good," Swinney said. "I think there'll be some dynamics that will come about that, you know, that'll create some consequences not everybody foresaw. But I'm not against anybody being able to transfer, I think it's great. I just think, with no reason for pause with NIL, with agents, with tampering with, you name it... no consequences and that kind of leads to no conscience."

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