Dabo Swinney is now the recipient of the largest contract in college football history, a 10-year, $93 million whopper of a deal that became official on Friday.
Such a deal doesn’t just happen, it has to be presented to and approved by Clemson’s Board of Trustees, and even though everyone in the world knew Dabo was getting a new deal as soon as he lifted his second national championship trophy in three years back in January, it still fell to Clemson AD Dan Radakovich to present a new contract to the board.
So he — or, really, his staff — made a PowerPoint.
To justify committing $93 million of the university’s money to its football coach, Radakovich put together a series of charts, first published by Grace Raynor of The Athletic, showing why Dabo was worth the money, called the Swinney Effect.
The first section is a series of charts outlining how Clemson’s revenues have skyrocketed through increased ticket sales, fundraising, and licensing and sponsorship.
The second section outlines his value to the university as a whole, best illustrated through this chart.
This puts Clemson on a similar track to Alabama, where another football hire changed the course of the entire university, as shown through his 2013 Forbes excerpt:
Since 2007, Tuscaloosa has swelled its undergraduate ranks by 33% to over 28,000 students. Faculty count has kept pace: up 400 since 2007 to over 1,700. But it’s more than growth – it’s where the growth is coming from. According to the school, less than a third of the 2007 freshman class of 4,538 students hailed from out of state. By the fall of 2012, more than half (52%) of a freshman class of 6,397 students did. Various data from US News and the New York Times shows that the school’s out-of-state tuition cost – nearly three times higher than the rate for in-state students – rose from $18,000 to $22,950 a year during that period.
Add it all up – more students from outside Alabama paying ever-increasing premium tuition bills – and the school realized $50 million more in out-of-state tuition revenue for last fall’s incoming class than it did for the same class in 2007 ($76 million vs. $26 million). Kick in the additional $8.5 million in in-state tuition, which rose to $9,200 a year from $6,400 over the same period, and overall tuition revenue rose to $104 million from $46 million for the respective 2012 and 2007 freshman classes. And to boot, the school’s most recent capital campaign (i.e. donations from alumni and others) raised $600 million for scholarships and facilities, the most ever.
For the admissions office, more applications mean more selectivity. Six years ago, 64% of students applying to the University of Alabama were accepted. By 2012, the acceptance rate had dropped to 53%. About one in four students from the 2012 freshman class carried a 4.0 high school GPA. The class also includes 241 National Merit Scholars, more than any other public university in the U.S.
“The quality of our students has never been higher,” says Mary Spieigel, executive director of undergraduate admissions. “Our recruiters across the nation emphasize all aspects of the University.”
Out-of-state students are worth more than just jacked-up tuition to their universities. Perhaps they fall in love with Clemson itself and the state of South Carolina, becoming long-term residents and taxpayers. Or, perhaps they move back home and become evangelists of the Clemson purpose, putting Tiger paw stickers on their cars and orange t-shirts on their children, giving the school a presence in places it wouldn’t otherwise be.
Because of the football program, Clemson is on its way to becoming a destination university for students across the country. That’s the goal of every football program, but few actually accomplish it. Clemson is on its way.
Finally, the Swinney Effect delved into the monetary aspects of the deal. Radakovich and company broke the deal out in a way that surely made the trustees sleep more comfortably at night, showing that, yes, Clemson’s $93 million in total commitment was the largest in college football, Dabo’s $9.3 million salary and his $50 million guarantee were outpaced elsewhere.
Of course, it wasn’t this slideshow that earned Swinney’s record contract. But it wasn’t just his best-in-the-nation run over the past four years — 55-4, four ACC championships, four College Football Playoff berths, two national championships over the past four years. It was everything that historic run did for the rest of the university that got Dabo his $93 million deal.