Reaching the halfway point

CLEMSON - Things are about to get real in Clemson -- as real as they can get when spring practice is about halfway finished.

Wednesday was practice No. 7 of the spring. Eight more remain, including two stadium scrimmages and the annual Orange and White spring game.

"Excellent practice, I thought the guys came out there today with a good edge to them, good enthusiasm, ramped it up a little bit today, because Friday will have a half live part. Obviously, we'll have our first full scrimmage on Monday," Dabo Swinney said, after Wednesday's workout.

"Just continued to work some different situations, that was the biggest thing. We've still got a lot of things going on, still kind of holding judgment. We've just had two days since we got back.

"Next week will be a big week, from a personnel standpoint, making some decisions and just kind of seeing where we are, going into the last few days of spring ball."

For the first time this spring, Swinney mentioned had good things to say about David Beasley, who will be suspended for the season opener against Georgia.

"David Beasley has picked himself off the mat and has fought back hard. He's kind of been in the doghouse a little bit. He's battling through it."

Pay for play?

Led by former quarterback Kain Coulter, Northwestern football players qualify as university employees and can unionize, according to the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board.

From an article on ESPN.com: "NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr cited the players' time commitment to their sport and the fact that their scholarships were tied directly to their performance on the field as reasons for granting them union rights."

The news broke during Clemson's practice. Swinney was asked about it.

"I don't really know about it. I don't really know enough about it to even comment," he said. "What does that mean? Does that mean they don't practice when they don't want to practice? What does that mean? I don't know what all that means?"

Swinney does think change is needed.

"When I was in college, it was the same discussion…I am 1,000 percent in favor of a stipend or a scholarship enhancement, modernizing the scholarship is probably the better term," he said, "Because it hasn't changed, yet it costs more to go to a movie, it costs more to buy gas, it costs more to wash your clothes than it did when I was in school."

After citing a few positives moves made by the NCAA, he expounded: "There needs to be an adjustment there, but as far as professionalizing college athletics -- first of all, college athletics would go away.

"I'm 1,000 percent against that. We've got enough entitlement in this country as it is and it totally devalues an education. It just blows my mind. They don't even want to quantify an education. I'm standing here because I got my education.

"I didn't get into coaching to make money. Coaches weren't making any money when I got into coaching. I got into coaching because it's what I wanted to do in my life and because it's what I was passionate about, but I was able to do it because I had my education. That's what changed my life. That's what changes everybody's life."

Swinney would be in favor of a minor league to the NFL that would allow players to turn professional immediately after high school.

"The NFL could fund it or whatever, like baseball. Guys that don't want to go to school, guys that don't value an education don't have to come. Go to work, it's just that simple," he said. "Guys that are serious about getting an education and changing their life go to college. I think that's a simple way to resolve the whole fact.

"Guys that take advantage of their opportunity, they don't let football use them. They use football. Those guys are very successful. Tajh Boyd could quit football now and they'd be lined up from here to California to hire that guy. You know why? Because he took advantage of his opportunity and his platform, the marketing and the brand."

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