Clemson Dilemma: Adapt, Survive and Thrive or Sit, Wait and Wither

I’m sitting here, in the comfort of my well worn armchair, reading the numerous, well written and logical post about the possibility of an all out football realignment.

Like me, most of the Tiger Faithful are left asking, what will happen to Clemson? Where if anywhere do the Tigers go? Why is this happening now? As usual, I can’t answer definitively on any of the speculation but I do know something, wheels of change are already turning.

Many, many fans tend to say “Dabo’s got this” and most times their words are a kind of lip service yet, more often than not, they are rewarded for such unwavering belief. Me? I’m a skeptic but even I believe Dabo Swinney is working feverishly with the athletic and university leadership, supporters, donors and outside contacts/consultants to find a solution to this problem.

Just like several months back when most were convinced the Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) train didn’t plan to stop in Clemson, that was wrong. Unbeknownst to most, there was a covert op being conducted. Then, suddenly these two collaboratives were unveiled, a completely new program, a new cutting edge facilities comes to light and all seemed right within the Clemson Universe. That same type of covert op, I suspect, is playing out even as I type these words.

It’s neither negative nor an overreaction to insinuate the situation facing Clemson (and all of the ACC) needs immediate attention. Clemson Fans, understandably, really only care about their Tigers and I get it and more importantly, I wholeheartedly agree. Even a nanosecond of hesitation on Clemson’s part to seek a more positive, competitive and revenues enhanced home is a nanosecond too much. Imperatively, they must act soon.

Sure, there are 15 years left to toil and suffer under the current Grant of Rights contract. Unfortunately, that’s what’s holding all member institutions, in a sense, hostage. They are trapped on a slowly sinking ship. The inevitability of this situation is so clear, it’s easy, at least for those like me, to panic. However, panic doesn’t accomplish anything constructive, it’s a waste of emotion.

In this moment, swift boldness is required. Someone must hire a world class contract law attorney to find a loophole, a chink in the armor and bust up the whole grant of rights fiasco. I also believe several other programs, Clemson, Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame could “bull rush” in exit, knocking down the conference gates, leaving the ACC broken. Then, there will be a realistic chance of a new, favorable solution.

As far as a realignment and Clemson’s possible ultimate destination, if the money is right, it doesn’t really matter. The Clemson culture, the foundation of what makes Clemson special won’t ever change regardless of where the Tigers compete. The bottom line in this process is simple, ‘show me the money’ and the rest, I believe, will all fall in place. Clemson has always played at a financial disadvantage and look at its accomplishments. Now, imagine an equally compensated Clemson and it’s easy to believe there would be no limits to the Tigers’ success.

Is it clairvoyance on my part that I scribble this? No. If you’ve read any of my previous ramblings, you know I’m not a soothsayer. Honestly, this is simpler than that. For Clemson, it’s out of a sense of urgency to adapt, survive and thrive and that cannot be done sitting still. As with all change, only action and time will tell.

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