Clemson's Dabo Swinney: 'We built this program in God’s name, image and likeness'

Dabo Swinney put a new spin on criticism of college athletics’ name, image and likeness rules on Wednesday.

The Clemson football coach said at his early signing day news conference that Clemson’s program has been built on “God’s name, image and likeness” while he’s been the head coach. The deeply religious Swinney has long been outspoken against what he thinks is the “professionalization” of college sports while being one of the highest-paid coaches in college football after Clemson won two national titles on his watch.

“We built this program on NIL,” Swinney said. “We really did. And it’s probably different than what you’re thinking though. We built this program in God’s name, image and likeness.”

You can see on Swinney’s face just how proud he was of his Wednesday one-liner.

"As things have changed, God has always been the foundation of what I do," Swinney continued (via On3). "We’ve been dealing with his name, Image and likeness for a long time. I think as this new era has come forward, God just continues to bless us here at Clemson.”

You can read the entirety of Swinney's answer to the question that prompted the quip about God's name, image and likeness at the link above.

Swinney signed a 10-year, $115 million extension to continue as Clemson’s head coach in September. He’s publicly defended the size of his salary before on the grounds of capitalism and has said that he does like the ability for players to make money off their image rights. But he’s decried the lack of rules governing image rights and told ESPN in April that he’s “Against anything that devalues education.”

I am against anything that devalues education. That's what I'm against. I am for anything that incentivizes education. People will come after me because I've always said that I'm against the professionalism of college athletics, and I am. Kids don't know what they don't know. That's a slippery slope if you professionalize college athletics, and now you've got salaries and taxes and you can fire kids on the spot and they've got to pay for their tuition and they pay for their housing and everything else. Athletic directors would sign up for that in a heartbeat. They'd save that money.

And while Swinney has and will likely continue to be outspoken against the current college system, he and other coaches have to adapt to keep reeling in top recruiting classes by making sure that players who play for them have the ability to earn what they’re worth off their image rights. Clemson currently sits No. 9 in Rivals’ team recruiting rankings and it's fair to believe that its success on the field isn't the sole reason why its class ranks in the top 10.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has been an outspoken critic of the rules surrounding players' ability to profit off their name, image and likeness. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
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