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College athletes and the possibility of their status going from amateurs to employees of their schools did not appear to sit well with Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney.

Last month, a federal judge barred the NCAA from enforcing rules that prohibit NIL compensation from being used to recruit athletes. The judge wrote that the NCAA’s prohibition likely violates federal antitrust law and harms athletes.

The first step toward college athletes being employees was launched before the ruling, as a National Labor Relations Board regional official ruled that Dartmouth men’s basketball players are employees, potentially clearing the way for an election that would create the first labor union for student-athletes.

Swinney disagreed with the model.

“The best thing for coaches in the kind of world we’re in right now is for (athletes) to be employees,” Swinney said last week, via the Post and Courier. “The worst thing for (the athletes) is to be employees. That’s not a world we want for 18-year-olds. … I think we lost our way.”

Swinney said he would rather see an emphasis on education while athletes get paid instead of having one or the other.

Dabo Swinney walks out


“(I) think the NIL is awesome,” he said, via Clemson Insider. “I really am (for it). I am all for enhancing the scholarship however you want, but I also understand the reality that ninety-eight percent of these kids are not going to play in the NFL. 

“We need to educate our young people in this society. Nobody talks about the value of an education anymore.”

Swinney floated the idea of creating a 401(k) for athletes, and if they take money out early, they would face a penalty.

Dabo Swinney shakes hands

NIL is clearly going to be a big factor in the college recruiting process moving forward. Coaches like Swinney will have to formulate a plan to keep up with the times.

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