Dabo Swinney Delivers 7-Minute Response On Conference Realignment As Clemson Weighs Options

Dabo Swinney walks the sidelines during Clemson's Orange Bowl game vs. Tennessee.

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Conference realignment has shaken up the college sports world, leading many to react to the hopping of leagues by a number of teams. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney responded to the recent news in a press conference over the weekend.

The head coach isn’t surprised to see where his sport is heading, giving his thoughts on the off-field action.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen drastic shift in the NCAA landscape. The PAC 12 is all but done, at least as we know it, as six schools have announced their intentions to move conferences.

Colorado led the way, jumping to the Big XII. Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah have since followed suit.

Oregon and Washington, meanwhile, are off to the Big Ten where they’ll join USC and UCLA in 2024.

With the departures, the Conference of Champions is down to four members in Cal, Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington State. Time will tell if they opt to add universities from the Group of Five level or continue to crumble.

The news coincides with the PAC 12’s media rights negotiations. The league has been unable to secure a deal with a major cable network, and streaming service Apple appears to be the leading candidate to strike an agreement.

The numbers of the offer were reported to range in the $20-$25 million range per team, far less than what Big XII, Big Ten, and SEC schools will make.

The ACC has its issues, too.

While the PAC 12 struggles to land a deal, the ACC finds itself in a different debacle. The conference has a deal with ESPN that runs through 2036. At the time that contract was signed, it seemed a strong move to secure the league’s future.

As media rights revenues continue to skyrocket though, it’s turning out to be a lemon.

Reports have surfaced of both Clemson and Florida State’s unhappiness with their current positions, believing their brands are worthy of a higher payout. As a result, the ACC will adjust its revenue structure to better reward top performers on the field.

Still, it seems the league’s top teams are growing stir crazy as they watch everyone else bring in big bucks.

Some have gone as far as to hint at independence, though it seems unlikely that it would be a realistic decision given the ACC’s grant of rights agreement. That contract ensures that any moneys earned outside the ACC would still be directed back to the conference.

Mulling its options, the Tigers and Seminoles spearheaded a push to find a way around the agreement.

They rallied seven schools together as they looked for a way to circumvent the GOR. Still, their hands may be tied.

If there is a way out, both Clemson and FSU would seemingly offer strong resumes to join either the Big Ten or SEC. A number of top basketball programs would be attractive, too.

Dabo Swinney was asked about the shift in college sports in his most recent press conference.

Dabo Swinney responds to the realignment changes.

The often-long-winded head coach delivered a seven-minute response on conference realignment, part of which was posted in a clip to social media. He’s not surprised by the movement as he believes he knows where the sport is headed.

“Lot happening out there, my job is to get the team ready to play, that’s my job. I don’t get caught up in all that stuff. Honestly, it’s just the next domino to where it’s all going… it is what it is. I don’t know if it’s going to be this year, or midseason, or next year or three years for now.

“Eventually, we’re going to have… I don’t know what the number is… 40 or 50 teams, something like that, and it’s going to be a 14 or 16-team playoff type of deal.

“That’s where it’s going to be. I don’t know what the league is going to be called, or the divisions, or whatever. That’s where it’s going to go eventually.”

The Tigers could be part of that shift in the very near future. We’ll see how their relationship with the ACC evolves over the rest of the offseason and beyond.