In the wake of Dabo Swinney signing that ginormous contract extension at Clemson, I’ve seen a fair number of takes like this, suggesting his argument that player compensation is another form of entitlement that college athletics can do without no longer has any place in the discussion.
With all due respect, that completely misses the point. Of course Swinney’s perspective continues to matter, and matter greatly. Not because it occupies some moral high ground, but because, unlike some, Dabo ain’t stupid. He can do the math, and the math here is pretty dang simple.
For now, there is no reason to think the top of the college football coaching marketplace is going anywhere but up. Rapidly.
Every year, more money pours into college athletics departments. There is no legal way for schools to cap coaches’ compensation. And for the time being, at least, there is a legal way to cap athletes’ compensation.
So a market that’s governed by the usual economic factors, plus the wild card of emotion, is almost assured of going higher than it did Friday.
All that money’s gotta go somewhere, and if it’s not going to the players directly, well… like I said, Dabo ain’t stupid. There’s a good reason college sports are the only major commercialized venue where coaches make more than star players.
What I wonder about is what happens should the time come when the NCAA and the schools go all out for an antitrust exemption. Will college coaches realize what that will likely mean for them, too? And, if so, what would they do about it?