Clemson's Dabo Swinney Says He Foresees 'Complete Blowup' of College Football

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 9, 2022

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, front right, is presented with the championship trophy after winning the Cheez-It Bowl NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Clemson football head coach Dabo Swinney foresees a "complete blowup" of college football in which Power Five schools would break away from the remainder of Division I-FBS to form their own division.

"I think there's going to be a complete blowup...especially in football, and there needs to be," Swinney told ESPN's Chris Low

"I think eventually there will be some type of break and another division. Right now, you got everybody in one group, and it's not feasible. Alabama has different problems than Middle Tennessee, but we're trying to make them all the same and it's just not. I think you'll have 40 or 50 teams and a commissioner and here are the rules."

The last seismic change in the Division I college football structure occurred in 1978, when Division I was split into an upper tier (I-A) and lower tier (I-AA). Those tiers have since been renamed FCS and FBS, respectively.

Now it appears Swinney is advocating for an even further separation of Division I-FBS, which will consist of 131 teams in 2022 over 10 conferences (plus seven independent schools):

"There's so much bureaucracy and you can't get anything done in a real-time manner. It's frustrating. The communication is not good and the rules are outdated. Again, there have been a lot of positives when it comes to the scholarships. But you've got all these people voting on things, and it's just not apples to apples."

Another big change has already occurred throughout college athletics with the adoption of the NIL (name, image, likeness) rule, whereas athletes can finally benefit from the opportunity to use their image for money-making opportunities (e.g. sponsorships).

Swinney reiterated his previous stance on NIL: He claims he isn't against the policy but has issues with "anything that devalues education":

"I am against anything that devalues education. That's what I'm against. I am for anything that incentivizes education. People will come after me because I've always said that I'm against the professionalism of college athletics, and I am. Kids don't know what they don't know. That's a slippery slope if you professionalize college athletics, and now you've got salaries and taxes and you can fire kids on the spot and they've got to pay for their tuition and they pay for their housing and everything else.
"Athletic directors would sign up for that in a heartbeat. They'd save money."

Per Low, Swinney said it's good that players can profit off their name and image but that it creates other problems.

"There's no rules, no guidance, no nothing. It's out of control. It's not sustainable. It's an absolute mess and a train wreck, and the kids are going to be the ones who suffer in the end. There are going to be a lot of kids that end up with no degrees and make decisions based on the wrong things."

Swinney, 52, has coached Clemson since 2008. The Tigers have gone 150-36 in his tenure, including two national titles.