Dabo Swinney Might Pull Scholarships From Former Walk-Ons

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Dabo Swinney might not be the most popular guy in the Clemson locker room if he goes through with a plan to rescind scholarships.

The Clemson Tigers are three scholarships over the 85 limit, and that means cuts have to be made somewhere.

Swinney, who has two national titles with Clemson, made it clear the first place the team will start is with three former walk-ons who previously earned scholarships.

Dabo Swinney might pull scholarships from former walk-ons. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

“Last year we were able to put (Holden) Caspersen, the snapper on. He deserves it. Hunter Helms, and then Domonique Thomas. Those are three guys that came here as walk-ons, and all of those guys we felt earned scholarships. But in a situation like this, that is where you would have to start. Who knows, though, what will happen? We have until August. Somebody may leave, I don’t know. We’ve got a plan and we will be at 85 when we get to September,” Swinney told the media when talking about needing to potentially cut some scholarship from former walk-ons, according to TigerNet.com.

“We tell them up front. We can’t guarantee you this next year, but hopefully, we will be able to keep you on. It’s always a year-to-year thing,” the Clemson coach further told the press.

Swinney is also speaking a bit from experience. He started his career at Alabama as a walk-on before earning a scholarship.

Dabo Swinney needs to cut three scholarships to get to the 85 limit. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Is Dabo Swinney the bad guy in this situation?

It might sound harsh to hear, but this is the reality of major college sports. It’s not a charity. It’s a de-facto business.

We can all pretend it’s not, but that’s just the reality of the situation. There are rules and standards that have to be met.

Swinney is taking a bit of heat online, but he’s simply telling the truth about the reality Clemson is facing.

Nobody wants to see a young man lose a scholarship after earning one as a walk-on. That’s a tough conversation to have, but it’s a necessary one.

It reminds me of the scene in “Miracle” when Herb Brooks had to cut Ralph Cox after all the hard work he put in.

You better believe Dabo Swinney is hoping a couple kids outside of the playing rotations transfer and solve this problem for him. That would save him a lot of awkward conversations. If not, there’s no doubt he’ll pull walk-ons’ scholarships like he’s stealing candy from a baby. It’s the nature of the beast.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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  1. OR …. $$$ from Clemson’s Collective could be funneled to the former walk-ons to cover their tuition, etc costs. That is totally outside the NCAA’s 85 limit. How the costs are covered is irrelevant so long as it does not come from the kids or their parents. … Next problem!

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