Deregulation thoughts part II: Clemson’s decision to be or not to be (first step, call Billy Beane)

NORTHWESTERN COMMAND – Dabo Swinney is not a fan of deregulation as you can read here.

The Clemson coach knows it means more spending for athletic departments.

Swinney knows it will create a greater separation between the Haves and the Have Nots, and not just a further separating of the BCS-conference schools from the non-BCS schools, but creating greater divisions in power conferences.

He knows Clemson has a choice to make.

“I think Clemson is one of those programs that’s going to have to make a decision on which way we want to go,” Swinney said. “Do we want to continue to be elite or are we going to be satisfied with pretty good?”

Swinney and Clemson AD Dan Radakovich were scheduled to meet  recently to discuss what Clemson’s plan going forward should be regarding its approach to deregulation. There’s no question Swinney, and every other FBS coach, is creating a wishlist.

Swinney might want to call Billy Beane first to see how to maximize building a personnel staff. He can also ask him where he gets his hair cut.

As we wrote about yesterday, the biggest cost figures to come in the creation of player personnel departments, unlimited support staffs, which could become larger than the actual 10-member coaching staffs. This could result in anywhere from $1 to $3 million a year in extra compensation, depending how these staff members are valued, which doesn’t account for the phones, computers, office space that will be necessary.

In short, if a school is “all in” in regard to its personnel department it will increase total staff compensation by 30 percent percent, I’d wager. Perhaps more, perhaps less. (Clemson had a program record $6.2 million distributed to 10 coaches last season.) But the point is this is another seven-figure-per-year commitment.

Deregulation could change how Clemson proceeds with its final phase of the West Zone, and I believe Radakovich already was planning on creating office space for administrative staff there.

These are all added costs, sure.

But it’s another opportunity for a fully committed football school, like Clemson, to separate itself from the pack.

What should be on Swinney’s wish list?

*A true scouting staff, the best veteran talent evaluators he can find. Former NFL scouts, former college coaches, perhaps some really good high school coaches, etc. If I’m Swinney I want as many eyes on video of prospects as I can get. I want as many people collecting background on players as possible.

*I don’t know if ego will allow for this, but the scouting department should become the chief evaluators, coaches should become the chief salespeople. Specialization is the trend of the market place, but cfb surprisingly lacks specialization combining roles of evaluation and sales in its coaches.

*Being the numbers guy I am, if I’m Swinney I also push Radakovich to allow me to form an analytics staff. Unlike pro baseball, which is way ahead of football in advanced analysis, we really don’t know much about what’s undervalued in football. I’d ask for a group of number crunchers that can examine a databases of former prospects and try to find what types of players and positions are undervalued.

As our own esteemed Gene Sapakoff wrote on Twitter: “NCAA deregulation of college football is going to be fascinating. First scouting departments, then MoneyBall geeks on the expanding payroll”

All this would be expensive, sure, but Swinney is right in this regard: Clemson has a decision to make, to be or not to be elite.

What will Clemson choose?

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