CLEMSON — Dabo Swinney knows his position at Clemson University, and that’s running the football program.
“I’m a football coach,” Swinney said Tuesday. “I don’t run the university. I don’t want to run the university. That’s not my grass to mow.”
He has clear influence, though – which he used to make his position on conference realignment crystal-clear.
If it’s up to him, Clemson will stay in the ACC, not bolt for the Big 12, as blogger and Internet-fueled rumors have intimated.
“It’s been a real distraction,” he said. “We’re 1,000-percent committed to the ACC. In my opinion, going to the Big 12 would be the worst thing you could do as a program. It makes zero sense. We are the ACC. “This is a program, we just wont the championship, won it more times than anyone in this conference. We can fulfill every goal and dream as a program right here in his conference. We have a tremendous footprint to recruit in, to play in… I’ve had to spend all my time re-recruiting guys because people are saying things, putting things out there that aren’t even close to reality.”
Swinney took a major shot at the reporting of rumors, some of which have suggested that Clemson’s move to the Big 12 is a done deal. Two weeks ago, Clemson Board of Trustees chairman David Wilkins said that the university would be obligated to look at offers if it received any, but none have come.
“Quite frankly, there’s been a lot of irresponsible blogging, reporting, whatever you want to call it,” Swinney said. “We live in this world nowadays where some guy hears something from a guy the third stall down in the bathroom and it’s like, ‘OK, that’s fact. That’s the way it is.’ It’s so far from reality it’s not even funny but it just takes on a life of its own.”
He admitted that “every school out there in this landscape we’re living in now” has to “have their eyes open and pay attention,” but feels Clemson can accomplish its goal of being a national power in the ACC. He pointed out that Clemson went from unranked last August to No.5 nationally following an 8-0 start.
“I don’t buy into this, “if you’re not ranked high,’ that’s baloney,” he said. “If we take care of our business at Clemson, we will have a seat at that table. Because of the passion, tradition, the schedule we play, we can achieve everything right here. I think this conference is on the verge. My goal is for Clemson to be the team that gets us back on the national scene.”
That said, if the Big 12 calls, and Clemson listens, Swinney knows his role.
“If they tell me we’re going to play Japanese league, I’m going to get the team ready to go play,” he said. “Let me make that real clear.”