Dabo Swinney’s $93M Contract Proves College Athletes Can Be Paid

Dabo Swinney $93M contract There's enough money to pay the players

The myth that there is not enough money to pay the college athletes has been debunked once again! Last week, Clemson University made its football coach, Dabo Swinney, the highest paid coach in college football. The record-breaking contract will pay Swinney $93 million dollars over the next ten years. That is an average of $9.3 million dollars a year. Swinney’s deal beats Nick Saban’s contract with The University of Alabama that pays him $74 million over eight years. It also beats Jimbo Fisher’s contract with Texas A&M that pays him $75 million dollars over ten years.

Just under them is Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Gus Malzhan (Auburn), and Kirby Smart (Georgia) each averaging $7 million per year. Even with these impressive salaries, people still argue that there is not enough money to pay college athletes. When coaches salaries and television deals for college football and basketball are considered, it is hard to fathom how people can continue to make this argument.

Why do People Still Buy The “Not Enough Money Argument?”

People continue to buy into that argument because they listen to words of coaches like Dabo Swinney. Swinney denounced paying college athletes in a statement where he alluded that doing so would give college athletes a sense of entitlement.

“We try to teach our guys, use football to create the opportunities, take advantage of the platform and the brand and the marketing you have available to you. But as far as paying players, professionalizing college athletics, that’s where you lose me. I’ll go do something else, because there’s enough entitlement in this world as it is.”

In reality, the only people that seem to be entitled is the coaches and the NCAA. They seem to be entitled to having young predominantly black talent perform their talents for essentially free. These athletes do this while receiving a scholarship and being precluded from receiving any other unsanctioned benefit.

While a scholarship is valuable, it pails in comparison to the benefits the coaches, college sports administrators, and NCAA receive. However, that is the paradox of the NCAA’s purported mission and the current college athletics system. Dabo Swinney’s stance on paying college athletes and his new contract is the ultimate demonstration of that paradox.

The Paradox of the Dabo Swinney Contract and the NCAA’s Mission

The NCAA purports to provide college athletes with an opportunity to participate in athletics while pursuing a college degree. The NCAA also purports to keep college athletics distinct from professional athletics. One reason that the NCAA does this is to protect college athletes from exploitation.

In reality, the NCAA has only maintained that distinction in regards to compensation of the labor force. The NCAA has made sure that college athletes do not receive any compensation remotely resembling that of a professional athlete. The NCAA even goes so far as to strip college athletes of their publicity rights preventing them from using their name, image, and likeness, as a condition of participation. Thereby ensuring that college athletes will not receive endorsement opportunities similar to those granted to professional athletes.

However, the NCAA has failed in maintaining a distinction between professional and college athletics in every other way. This evidenced by Swinney’s and other coaches’ contracts and the million dollar television deals. It appears that the NCAA only truly cares about making sure that college athletics is not professionalized to the benefit of the athletes. In reality, the NCAA’s mission and the allowance of contracts like Dabo Swinney’s is really a bit of a paradox. It is a paradox in the fact that the NCAA claims to protect college athletes from exploitation while at the same time allowing their talents to exploited by college sports officials who make millions of dollars from the athletes’ labor.

Perhaps Swinney Would Leave if College Athletes Were Paid

In his statement, Swinney stated that if college sports were professionalized that he would “go do something else.” What he failed to acknowledge is that college sports in already professionalized to his benefit as can be seen in his contract. Perhaps Swinney would go do something else if he was forced to share some of the wealth and coaching college football was no longer a $93 million dollar cash cow. One thing is for sure, there is definitely enough money to pay college athletes.

Trevor Lawrence Should be Able to Receive his Worth While at Clemson

Trevor Lawerence

On Monday, Clemson decisively defeated Alabama for the College Football National Championship. The Tigers overcame the Crimson Tide 44-16. Not only did Clemson defeat the almighty “Bama,” Clemson sent a strong message defeating them by 28 points. Leading Clemson to victory was true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawerence. Lawerence undisputedly emerged as the star of the game. He threw three touchdown passes and amassed 347 passing yards. Accordingly, Lawerence’s performance was truly unprecedented. He defeated the most powerful team in college football who boasted a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback.

After the game, sports fans and commentators began criticizing the fact that Lawerence is ineligible for the upcoming NFL draft. Critics argued that it is unfair that players do not have the option to enter the draft when they see fit. Similarly, they argue that is not fair that elite athletes are told when they may go professional and make money off of their athletic abilities.

Division 1 college football is a billion dollar industry. However, the athletes who propel that industry receive essentially no compensation above a cost-of-attendance scholarship. However, the coaches make millions of dollars each year. Perhaps, the real issue is not when Lawerence or other similarly situated players should be eligible for the NFL draft. Perhaps the real issue is why playing professionally is the only option such players have to make money for their athletic abilities?

Why is Trevor Lawerence Ineligible for the NFL Draft?

Lawerence is ineligible for the draft because the NFL’s rules say a player is not draft eligible until he is three years removed from his high school graduating class. Proponents of the rules argue that they are in place to protect future NFL prospects from prematurely entering the league before they are physically ready. However, opponents believe that it is unfair that Lawrence and other NFL prospects do not have the option to start their professional careers whenever they see fit. Accordingly, fans and critics argue that Lawerence and other NFL prospects should have the ability to chose when to start their NFL careers.

Perhaps elite athletes should have the ability to freely decide when to turn pro. However, this issue is not the real injustice. The real injustice is the fact that elite NFL prospects cannot make money off their athletic abilities while in college. This is especially true given the fact that the coaches make millions off of the labor of the athletes.

Coaches Make Millions Off of the Labor of Elite Talent, While the Talent has to Wait for a  Professional Career That May Never Manifest.

Take the two coaches who were in the championship game for instance. Those two coaches were Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Alabama’s Nick Saban. Saban’s base salary was $7.5 million. He made an additional $400,000 for appearing in the CFP semifinal game. Even though the Crimson Tide lost, Saban still cleared an additional $600,000 just for appearing in the championship game. Swinney’s base salary for the season was $6 million.  He received an additional $200,000 for his CFP semifinal appearance.  Since Clemson won the championship, Swinney will receive an additional $250,000.

Meanwhile, the labor force (the football players) that makes these incredible salary numbers possible receives a very small amount in comparison. A scholarship for a college education is invaluable. However, when compared to coaches salaries, television deals, and other sponsorships, does it really seem fair that athletes are limited to their scholarship?

The Focus Should be on Lawernce’s Inability to Profit off his Athleticism in College Instead of on his Inability to go to the NFL

It is not fair for athletes to have wait to reach the NFL to be adequately compensated for their athleticism. What if a player suffers a career ending injury before he is eligible for the NFL? Such a player would never have the opportunity to be adequately compensated for his athletic ability.  It is for this reason that the conversation should be focused on college athletes rights to receive adequate compensation in college.

Yes, an injured player may have a degree.  It is also true that the degree could yield high earnings for the player in the future. However, the injured player would still have missed the opportunity to be adequately compensated for his athleticism in college.  Meanwhile, his coach made millions in games that the injured player’s labor largely contributed to.

There is a lot of money in Division 1 college football.  This is evident from the coaches salaries.  More of that money should be funneled down to the labor force who makes it all possible.  It would be nice if Lawerence had the ability to opt for the NFL. However, it would be better if he could receive more for the fruits of his labor while in college. At the very least, Lawerence and other similarly situated athletes should be allowed to profit off of their own name, image, and likeness.  Therefore, the conversation should be about Lawerence’s ability to receive his worth while in college instead of his ability to go to the NFL.

Alabama vs. Clemson: How Each Team Can Win The National Championship

Alabama Clemson

Alabama vs. Clemson, Part IV. Sign me up. For the third time in the last four years, the final two teams standing are Alabama and Clemson. That should come as a surprise to no one because these two teams happen to have the two best coaches in Division I football, Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney. Both Alabama and Clemson come into the National Championship undefeated and motivated to add to their recent history of success. Both teams can win tonight and here’s how it can happen.

Alabama Can Win If…

Tua is Tua

  •  Tua Tagovailoa is the best quarterback that Nick Saban has ever coached at Alabama. The numbers speak for themselves. 3,671 yards and 41 touchdowns would have been good enough for the Heisman Trophy had it not been for Kyler Murray. That being said, Tua exacted his revenge on Murray as the lefty threw for 318 yards and 4 TDs to defeat Oklahoma in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff. What Tua can do on a football field is special. He can make every throw, keep plays alive with his legs, and change the course of the game at any moment. If Tua is his usual self, it will be a long day for the Clemson Tigers.

Quinnen Williams Plays Like A Superstar

  • Clemson may have the depth at defensive line, but they don’t have Quinnen Williams. The Alabama defensive lineman has had a meteoric rise this past season as he became the best defensive lineman in the country. Williams accumulated 67 tackles, 8 sacks, and 18 tackles for loss. Williams is the best player on the field at all times and is currently projected to be taken in the top 3 of this year’s NFL Draft according to NBC Sports. If Williams wreaks havoc on the interior line, it will be a long night for Clemson.

Good Luck Stopping Alabama’s Pass Catchers

  • The best phrase to describe the Alabama receiving corp is “Pick your poison.” Seriously, this unit is a five-headed monster. It all starts with Jerry Jeudy, who was a first-team All-American and the Biletnikoff Award winner, which is awarded to the nation’s top receiver. After Jeudy, a quartet of talent awaits as Henry Ruggs III, Jaylen Waddle, Irv Smith Jr., and Devonta Smith all have over 6 touchdown catches each. You cannot stop this group. You can only hope to contain it.

Nick Saban Shows Why He’s the Greatest Coach Of All-Time

  • For my money, Nick Saban is the greatest coach of all-time. Although he’s tied with Bear Bryant for national championships with 6, Saban has won titles with two schools, which is why I give him the edge over Bryant. There’s a reason why Alabama is 55-3 since 2015 and are making their fourth straight appearance in the National Championship game. Saban and the Tide make little to no mistakes throughout the game. No one adjusts better at halftime than Saban. Look at last year as Saban inserted Tua in at quarterback over Jalen Hurts. Most coaches play checkers. Saban plays chess. If Saban throws his headset again, Clemson should give up on the spot.

Clemson Can Win If…

Trevor Lawrence Thrives Under Pressure

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has drawn many comparisons to his idol, Peyton Manning. However, Lawrence has been described as “Peyton Manning, but a better runner.” That’s a lethal combination, and it very well is the winning formula for defeating Alabama. The true freshman took over as the starter for Kelly Bryant in September and hasn’t looked back since. Lawrence has thrown for 2,933 yards and 27 TDs to only 4 INTs. Without a doubt, Alabama will be the toughest defense that Lawrence has faced all season. If the freshman can limit the turnovers and convert on third downs, then Clemson keeps Tua off the field, which may be the difference in the end.

Clemson Defense Proves They’re The Better Unit

When asking the casual fan about the team with the better defense, one might assume that it’s Alabama because of their recent history of dominance. However, that’s not true this season. The Clemson Tigers defense is statistically better than the Alabama defense. Clemson is ranked 2nd in the country in total defense while Alabama ranks 13th. Alabama might have the best defensive player on the field in Quinnen Williams, but Clemson has the better defensive line. Even without Dexter Lawerence, Clemson still boasts two consensus All-Americans in Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins. Add Austin Bryant and Albert Huggins into the mix, and the Tigers defensive line can disrupt Tua and the Alabama offense all night.

Trevor Lawrence via Getty Images

Travis Etienne Finds Success On The Ground

Alabama has depth in the backfield, but the best running back on the field wears orange and white. His name is Travis Etienne. The Clemson sophomore rushed for a jaw-dropping 1572 yards and 22 TDs this season. That’s 700 more yards than the leading Alabama running back. Plus, Clemson has three running backs that average over 7 yards per carry while Alabama has none. If Etienne find success on the ground, then it will open up the offense and put less pressure on Trevor Lawrence

The Clemson Coaching Staff Orchestrates The Game Of Their Lives

Nick Saban is in a league of his own, which is why it’s going to take a team effort from the Clemson coaching staff to defeat Goliath. There is a reason why Brett Venables is one of the highest paid assistants in college football. Venables is the best defensive coordinator in Division I, and he’s worth every penny. Venables’ defense ranked second in total defense and provided the anchor for this undefeated team. However, it all starts at the top for the Tigers. Their success is credited to their energetic and passionate head coach who is the only man to ever defeat Nick Saban in the National Championship. That coach is Dabo Swinney. Swinney has turned Clemson from an average team to a national powerhouse during his tenure. If there’s one coach who could disrupt the Alabama dynasty, it’s Dabo.

Alabama vs. Clemson. Tua vs. Trevor. Saban vs. Dabo. This is the heavyweight fight that college football fans deserve.

Read Up: College Football Playoff Ponzi Scheme

College Football: ACC Coaching Power Rankings 2018

Who is #1 in the ACC Coaching Power Rankings?

The ACC is an interesting conference when it comes to the strength of its coaches. There is one king in the ACC, and that’s Dabo Swinney. It’s a no-brainer, and his resume speaks for itself. Every other coach is playing for second. A few names such as Mark Richt of Miami, Bobby Petrino of Louisville, and Justin Fuente come to mind. If no one can knock Dabo off the top, can any team at least take down Clemson for conference supremacy?

ICYMI:

Big XII Coaching Power Rankings

Pac-12 Coaching Power Rankings

Big Ten Coaching Power Rankings

Here are the ACC Coaching Power Rankings.

14. Syracuse – Dino Babers

Well, at least they beat Clemson last year. Syracuse football is one of the toughest jobs in the country because of the location. Syracuse is a basketball school in central NY that is trying to compete with the likes of Florida State and Miami every year. Florida or Central NY?  It is a pretty simple choice for most kids. Getting kids to turn down the sunshine for snow is not exactly the easiest recruiting pitch. Do I think Dino Babers is a bad coach? No. Do I think he can do better than back-to-back 4-8 seasons? Absolutely. If Babers can win at least three games in the ACC this year, he might have a job for a few more years. Baby steps for the Orange.

13. Steve Addazio, Boston College

Steve Addazio is a smart coach. If you’re a vital member of Urban Meyer’s staff for two National Championships at Florida, you must be doing something right. However, his time at Boston College has been below average in the win/loss category. In 6 seasons with the Eagles, Addazio’s record is 31-33. For a Power 5 school, it’s nothing to brag home about. However, Addazio is well-respected and revered by both his peers and the school, who signed him to a contract extension through 2020. For my money, Steve Addazio is probably one of the most likable dudes out there. I use the word dude because Addazio coined the legendary phrase, “Guys being dudes.” For that, Addazio has my stamp of approval.

12. Pittsburgh – Pat Narduzzi

Pittsburgh football is the definition of mediocre. Since 1999, the Panthers win total has been between 5 and 9 wins besides 2009, which was their only 10 win season this century. Will Pat Narduzzi be able to take the Panthers back to the top tier of college football, which is a place they have not been since Dan Marino played quarterback. Narduzzi is a master of defense and proved that by becoming one of the best defensive coordinators in college at Michigan State. In three seasons at Pittsburgh, Narduzzi’s Panthers have been slightly above average with a season-high win total of 8. Last season, Narduzzi shocked all of college football when his Panthers beat previously unbeaten Miami in the final game of the regular season. Can Narduzzi build momentum off of that historic win?

11.Virginia – Bronco Mendenhall

The record may not show it, but Bronco Mendenhall has made significant strides with Virginia. Winning has not exactly been part of the program with their last winning season coming in 2011. Mendenhall built a very respectable program at BYU with 11 straight trips to bowl games. Year 1 was a learning year for Mendenhall and the Cavaliers, which resulted in 2 wins. However, the Cavs shocked a lot of people last year as they not only tallied 6 wins but reached a bowl game. Let’s see what Mendenhall can do in Year 3 with the program.

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