Clemson Football recently launched their brand new Clemson Athletic Branding Institute, which they have nicknamed CAB. CAB is a new facility dedicated to providing valuable resources to the student athlete to grow their personal brand through NIL opportunities.
Coach Dabo Swinney thought the name CAB was appropriate.
"“We labeled it the Clemson Athletics Branding Institute, and I just went, ‘alright, we’ll call it the CAB.’ I just felt like it fit in that; what does a cab do? It gives you a lift to your destination, but you gotta pay the toll, and you have to put the work in. It’s not a free ride.”"
The vision for CAB dates back to 2021, before much of the landscape that would eventually define NIL in the world of college athletics had developed. The most notable development since then has been the collective, a business venture created and operated by people outside the university proper, which facilitates NIL deals for athletes.
Envisioning CAB and executing the plan to make it a reality in just a couple years shows that Clemson remains at the forefront of facilities and technology in college sports. Top-notch facilities is one of the selling points that has helped build Clemson Football from a good program into a program capable of competing for national honors.
CAB also shows they are remaining innovative and committed to being a leader in college athletics.
CAB will help Clemson stay competitive in the facilities race, but will it make much of a dent in the NIL race? Particularly when it comes to recruiting?
The cold, hard truth is that a facility like CAB won’t make a dent in the NIL market that exists in college football and men’s basketball for blue-chip prospects. When a recruit wants monetary payments from a collective, the allure of a state of the art production facility won’t change their minds. They will take the money.
CAB will have a positive influence with the young people who aren’t focused on dollar signs or won’t pull the same kind of promises from collectives. Recruits who are looking for the traditional things from a school – to develop them academically, culturally and professionally – will be impressed with a facility that provides them the resources to record podcasts, have professional quality photoshoots and produce videos for online distribution.
CAB will be good for Clemson Football, but not necessarily a game-changer for recruiting
The reality is that Clemson was already doing well with those recruits. CAB will simply reinforce what attracted many of them to Clemson in the first place.
A blue-chip prospect that will be making big money from an NIL collective can simply build their own space to their specifications depending on what they want to produce, if that kind of thing interests them in the slightest.
CAB was a good idea, and it is a good investment for Clemson. If the NIL collective industry collapses due to bad public relations, a lack of willing financiers or changes to the laws that govern NIL at the state or federal level, the the Tigers will be positioned as favorably as any school can be in a post-collective world of college athletics.
As long as we aren’t setting our expectations too high for what CAB will accomplish for recruiting in the high profile sports like football and basketball, it is a good thing, but it won’t be a big influencer in the recruitments where NIL money is a critical component for the recruit.