Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked for his opinion concerning his previous comments regarding paying players for their name, image and likeness during his first in-person media availability since April of 2020.
In 2019, Swinney said that he may as well quit coaching college and move to the NFL if players in college were ever paid. But Tuesday he stated that those comments were taken out of context and went on to clarify the statement and his stance.
“We live in a world now where not everybody does much research. You go in the bathroom and hear somebody on the phone in the third stall and that’s your source. Just calling it like it is,” Swinney said. “And that’s the headline. I think people hear what they want to hear, and then unfortunately a lot of people write what they want to write to fit the story that they need. And it’s just not accurate. I’ve never had a problem with name, image and likeness. I think it should have been more. If I’d have been the czar, I’d have done it differently, because I don’t think everybody’s gonna have much opportunity with it. Some will. But not everybody will have opportunity.
“I would have liked to have seen it tied to graduation, education. … What I said, whenever that was, I still say. I am against professionalizing college athletics where we get away from the collegiate model and the value of a degree and the value of an education. I’ve never, ever said I’m against name, image and likeness. I think it’s a lot of common sense. I think it could be more. I think it could be tied more to the education process so everybody would have had a little more opportunity. I said that, whenever it was, but people hear what they want to hear.
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“So, I just laugh about it. What else you gonna do? I guess I should sign up for Twitter. Then I could be one of those people and I could go back at everybody and spend my life correcting whoever is putting crazy information out there. It comes with the territory. But you know what, it just means we win. Because if we weren’t winning around here, nobody would even talk about it.
“I think it'll be everyone's individual experiences. I think it's great the guys can go work. I think that's great. There are some unintended consequences that come with it and there will be some silliness along the way, but we'll figure it out as we go and it'll get settled.
Swinney continued saying that even with the NIL, his philosophy and the program that he has spent more than a decade building is not going to change.
"The mission of our program doesn't change one bit. We've had PAW Journey for 12 years. This is just another tool we have to help them navigate. We can't coordinate-- we can just help educate," Swinney said. "The biggest thing is making sure they know the rules, they're transparent, and it's on their time. You just hope that doesn't become the focus, because it's very short-term money. You hope they focus on the long-term value of their education and development. Hoping we can do a great job of if they get off-track helping them get back on it."