Clemson Can Do Things ‘More Aggressively’ With NIL, but Won’t Lead With It In Recruiting

The landscape of college football is rapidly evolving and with that, schools are having to adapt on the fly.

One of the most notable shifts in the landscape has come with the new NIL regulations. With very little oversight and the rules differing from state to state, schools are basically having to find their own way.

New AD Graham Neff told the media on Wednesday that is basically what is going on at Clemson right now.

“There are things within our state law and within NCAA guidelines that we can do more aggressively,” Neff said. “And that’s not to say we haven’t, may be to better say, it’s been a very passive topic. Not just at Clemson but within the industry, and it’s been very market-driven by athletes to this point.”

“Athletically, at Clemson and in the industry, we’ve been passive. I think as it’s become more competitive, there’s been more need and calling within the industry for us to be more active and aggressive for our support, programs, internal engagement with our kids, and community engagement.” 

Head coach Dabo Swinney also weighed in on the subject again on Wednesday, telling the media that NIL will absolutely be part of the Tigers’ recruiting pitch, but at the same time, it will never be the focal point.

“We will always lead with who we are as a program,” Swinney said. “I don’t think many people will come to Clemson, or at least I hope they don’t, because of the NIL. But rather come for the people they want to be around.”

That doesn’t mean the administration isn’t putting its best foot forward when it comes to the new rules, though. Swinney wants his players to have every opportunity to maximize their potential when it comes to NIL.

“We are building a facility for the NIL going outside the weight room, just like we built P.A.W. Journey with a living, breathing space,” Swinney said. “Our job is to help them maximize opportunities and equip them. We have a whole team set up dedicated for that as well. When kids come here for visits, that’s part of our process, but we aren’t going to lead with it. It’s just one of the things we cover, like nutrition, business school, whatever it is. 

Swinney also added that he wants to do it in a way so that his players don’t sacrifice long-term success for the short-term money.

“Not all of them will go pro, so if they have a short window, we need to help them maximize the time they have. But do it in a way that doesn’t get them distracted with short-term money and sacrifice the long-term. There’s a balance there, and that’s where coaches have a responsibility to help them.” 

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