Clemson coach Dabo Swinney can say lots in two minutes, so it is easy to get misplaced in translation.
It was like that on a radio present SiriusXM at ACC kickoff on Wednesday. Swinney talked about the way forward for faculty soccer, however his critics view the game within the current. In case you hear intently sufficient, you may see that Swinney is correct about each.
“I believe faculty soccer must be reorganized.”
— School Sports activities on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) 21 July 2022
Let’s begin with Swinney’s tackle the well being of the game within the current period of the four-team School Soccer Playoff.
“It is unhealthy for the sport that folks do not have the chance or the entry,” Swinney mentioned. “I believe it’s unhealthy. If we are actually with 130 groups combating for one trophy, soccer shouldn’t be a event sport.”
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That is the half that Swinney’s critics chunk laborious, particularly the entire “event sports activities” factor. Soccer is usually a real event sport at each different degree besides the FBS, which has clung to the four-team, limited-access School Soccer Playoff. Six of these 131 FBS faculties have mixed to make 25 of the 32 playoff appearances.
The issue is that Swinney, like Alabama coach Nick Saban, induces a gag reflex each time he laments his lack of involvement. In any case, Alabama and Clemson have mixed for 13 playoff appearances and are common picks to return to the CFP in 2022.
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So regardless of what number of instances Swinney tries to say that his program remains to be Little Ole Clemson, the very fact is that it’s Massive Ole Clemson within the ACC and the present panorama. That is a part of the parity downside.
That is additionally not precisely contemporary information. Take note of the remainder of what Swinney needed to say about the good things in these two minutes.
“Most soccer folks know the place this factor goes,” Swinney mentioned. “Only a matter of when.”
Swinney is a type of individuals who has no less than a aware concept of what’s subsequent. Soccer will turn out to be a event sport sooner or later. When the Massive Ten added UCLA and USC, it introduced the super-conference mannequin one step nearer to actuality. It might take one other decade to get to the ultimate product, however Swinney tells you what is on the desk.
“I believe the mega-conference factor is right here to remain,” he mentioned. “Finally it is in all probability going to be one huge league with divisions and possibly 4 groups from every group. Regional-type stuff and you will have a 16-team playoff or one thing. It’s going to in all probability get there ultimately.”
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That is infinitely extra fascinating than ripping off Swinney’s lack of parity. “One huge league” — that’s, the faculty soccer Champions League mannequin — and a 16-team playoff — a quantity not talked about in discussions about increasing the CFP — might come down the pike. Swinney does not simply pull these ideas out of his media day playbook of what to say.
A 16-team event would resolve a few of the sport’s parity issues. The Candy 16 is when the NCAA Males’s Basketball Event will get critical. The soccer model of this is able to be off the charts. Relocation is a part of the method of getting there.
What does this imply for Clemon’s future within the ACC? That is one other common query, understanding that the convention is the bridge between the SEC and the Massive Ten and the remainder of faculty soccer. If Notre Dame have been to affix the ACC, the convention could be a stable No. 3 in that panorama. If not, the convention might see a raid on the identical firm because the Massive 12 and Pac-12 over the past two seasons.
“Whether or not the ACC goes to 52 groups or whether or not we go to the New Megatron World Convention, I do not actually know,” Swinney mentioned throughout his breakout session on Wednesday. “I am probably not frightened about that.”
Swinney is extra centered on the management that may information the game into the second chapter of the School Soccer Playoff period. If that is certainly going to be the New Megatron World Convention, who shall be its Optimus Prime?
“I believe faculty soccer must be reorganized,” Swinney mentioned. “There’s bought to be a brand new administration construction… There’s bought to be a bit extra readability. Proper now, it is all about chasing TV offers and increasing. It is all pushed by the playoffs.”
Does this imply the dying of the NCAA and the beginning of a governing physique that oversees superconferences? This physique must be outfitted to deal with the challenges of the NIL and transition portal whereas constructing a playoff that might compete within the NFL postseason?
Swinney is correct about all of this. Huge TV contracts dictate unprecedented restructuring. It made monetary sense for USC and UCLA to affix the Massive Ten, even when the geography does not match. It additionally makes coaches like Swinney see the sport in a different way. Regional pondering is not sensible. It is the nationwide recreation now, nostalgia be damned.
“Change is not at all times snug, particularly in case you’re over 40 and you’re keen on custom,” Swinney mentioned. “You like Oklahoma-Oklahoma State. You like this. You like NC State-North Carolina. You like Clemson-South Carolina. You like the USC stuff, whoever’s there.”
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The irony is that detractors are ripping Swinney for this too. What would you like? You need extra parity and extra groups an opportunity to win a nationwide championship. You need that in an surroundings the place gamers are commanding seven-figure NIL offers and training salaries are about to climb over $10 million a yr. You need it with out stepping as much as the pageantry and custom and all that Saturday feel-goodness.
Sorry, however that will not occur with out the restructuring that Swinney is demanding. You’ll be able to’t hate him for that. With that comes the conclusion that even little Ole Clemson misplaced a few of its college-town appeal because it grew into an annual nationwide championship contender. Parity comes with a brand new playoff, however getting there requires a brand new mannequin.
This can carry extra Little Ole Clemsons to a sport the place we have already got Alabama-Ohio State on this yr’s championship recreation.
It is not a event sport anymore. It is a monopoly that Swinney simply occurs to be. That does not imply he is fallacious in regards to the current or the longer term.
Anybody who listened for a full two minutes can see that.