Death of the Old Guard: Dabo & Chizik’s Tone-Deaf Idiocy
Change is scary, I get it. Resistance is the instinct for many an aged mind when a sweeping change comes through.
Let's be honest though, change isn't the word for college football in 2021. It's evolution.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney doesn't like the Transfer Portal or NIL dealings. Former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik doesn't like NIL. And plenty of fans and analysts of the sport don't like those evolutions either.
So, here're some words of 'Chizdom' for ya: Evolve or Perish.
The fact of the matter is that NIL and the Transfer Portal are more red-blooded American ideologies than the Wishbone offense ever was. Both implementations are rooted in common sense.
While everyone's entitled to their opinions, the hypocrisy in both coaches' words ring loud and speak volumes as to why Chizik is out of the game and why Swinney is on his way out.
Let's start with Chizik and this completely out-of-touch comment he made without provocation.
Rummage through the comment section for rational reaction on the obvious hypocrisy. Chizik made millions as a mediocre coach that lucked into Cam Newton having one of the greatest single-season efforts at quarterback in the history of the sport.
Wait, that's not right...
Newton and his father actually admitted to a pay-for-play plan for his sole season as a starting quarterback at Auburn. Don't remember that, do you, Gene? Seeing as Mississippi State refused to give Newton anything more than a scholarship and had a routine 7-6 season. Auburn obliged and enjoyed a storybook Heisman season with Newton and a national championship.
Now, it's true that many Americans struggle to find jobs that pay $50,000 a year. First, that's not college football's problem. Second, not many Americans are good enough football players in high school to play on the offensive line for the Texas Longhorns. Shocking I know, but these players begin building their brands in high school, which is where they earn a scholarship opportunity - so why is a promised NIL deal a problem? This is America, Texas's o-line deal isn't a handout, it's earned.
But nothing will boil the blood of lower-middle-class Americans than a millionaire talking about the unwarranted earnings as meager as $50,000. Especially when said millionaire made nearly $9 million after being fired.
On top of it all, nothing has changed in college football because the most money has always won. The blue-bloods have always dominated because they have more resources due to having, you guessed it Gene, more money than the competitors.
Coinciding with early national signing day, the top-5 classes will consist of Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, Ohio State and Texas. Last year? Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, LSU, Georgia. 2020? Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Clemson.
See not much has changed. The rich programs are winning in every conceivable way. (Jimbo Fisher openly aknowledged it's still the status quo in college football.)
Well, except for Clemson. The Tigers dropped all the way to 16th in 2022. Why? Comments like this:
Swinney continues with rhetoric that completely goes against the interest of his athletes, whether on his roster or on his recruiting board. And that rhetoric lacks the roots of logic required to live in the current reality of college football.
First of all, there's no tampering in college football. Maybe Swinney thinks imposing his weird commitment rule means that multiple schools talking to one athlete is some form of tampering, but he'd be wrong on an elementary level.
More importantly, the "Adults manipulating youngmen," comment has to be the most out-of-pocket sentence in college football history. That is what college football did for the first 151 years. From the suits in the NCAA to the school administrators all the way down to the coaching staff, those adults manipulated young men by profiting off the athletes' impeccable skills.
Education is important. I won't argue against that. But any coach trying to argue that their sole focus isn't on football is full of it. If Swinney is so concerned about education, Clemson has professor openings. Maybe he can coach and teach since players have to play and go to school.
Question for Dabo: did you care when you forced Kelly Bryant to transfer from your program because you justifiably started a better quarterback in Trevor Lawrence? Either way, you'd be an adult manipulating a young man's decision. Better yet, did you stop Trevor Lawrence or any other no-brainer first-rounder from leaving school early for the NFL? Bet you wished you could after the 2021 season, huh? But I'm sure it'd be about the graduation rates, not football.
See, what Swinney and Chizik fail to understand is that college football doesn't need fake white knights trying to preserve an archaic tradition of manhandling the lives of college athletes. It's thriving just fine on its own and evolving into a sport that is more fair and balanced than its ever been.
These millionaires don't like it, because surprise: bureaucratic authoritarian millionaires don't like capitalism. They like control. The NCAA and coaches like Swinney and Chizik are losing that power and being weeded out of the sport altogether.
The coaches that will and have evolved, like Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Brian Kelly and Jimbo Fisher, will continue to run the sport with even greater ease without the burden of unjustifiable care to the real world decision-making skills of 18-to-22-year-old men.
If Swinney is unable or unwilling to evolve, Hoover High School needs a new head coach. Maybe he'll enjoy the recruiting scene in high school football better. Or maybe he can join Chizik behind a studio desk, spouting his hopelessly naive ramblings into a Twitter void.
After all, Swinney said he'd quit if college football went this route anyway.