Let’s play “What If?”

Dabo Swinney and his Clemson football coaching staff were rewarded roughly $3 million in bonuses for Clemson winning the national title.

Now, what if a college offered even $1 million in bonuses to, oh, its geology professors based on the graduation success rates of geology majors. You think there would be improved grades, even among those aspiring geologists who take everything for granite?

Me, too. After all, what money can do …

Next, what if Paul Tagliabue, the former NFL commissioner and a smart and learned man, had been hired to do only right by the game and not primarily to tend to team owners’ bottom lines?

Last week from well beneath the news radar, Tagliabue apologized for his 1994 claim that the frequency of concussions — brain injuries — among NFL players is no big deal, that it’s an exaggeration based on “pack journalism.”

Of course, a man as sharp as Taglaibue had to know those players repeatedly bashed in the head or who repeatedly bash with their head — and often both — would suffer neurological consequences.

Still, on Tagliabue’s watch the NFL sold brutality, including home videos of players having their brains rattled.

But just as Bud Selig was paid not to notice MLB’s 12-year drug epidemic from his throne in the MLB Counting House, Tagliabue’s terms of employment included similar tacit understanding that he suffer episodic blindness and the timely loss of common sense based on economic factors.

It is worth noting that those NFL team owners who pushed for the hiring of Tagliabue mostly were concerned with “marketing” issues, i.e., how to maximize their profits or best service their buy-in debts. Those owners who preferred “a football man” lost.

Now, as a former commissioner, Tagliabue is able to see and think a lot clearer.

Who knows? Maybe one day Roger Goodell, as he is trimming his rose bushes, will say that on second thought PSLs were rotten investments. And maybe he will add that the fantasy league gambling he declared “is not gambling” — as NFL teams and owners blindly threw money at it — was, in fact, sucker bet gambling designed for NFL fans — especially young adult males — to waste their fantasies and money.

Next, what if, Rob Manfred, who carries the ambiguous title Commissioner of Baseball, was hired and paid only to protect The Game and its fans, as opposed to, first and foremost, servicing the financial needs and wants of team owners?

Do you think Manfred, and Selig before him, would have chosen late Sunday nights in outdoor stadia in April and in the Northeast as good places and a logical time to start ball games?

While we’re at it, we’ve received laments from Yankees/Derek Jeter fans angered that the Sunday, May 14, Mother’s Day, Jeter jersey retirement game has been switched to Sunday night as per ESPN money and MLB’s anything-for-money leadership.

But perhaps that game should belong to the dictates of modern sports avarice.

Though few wanted to see what they couldn’t miss, Jeter’s farewell season was in large part predicated on his and Jeter/Yankees’ business partner Steiner Collectibles selling anything and everything that could be attached to Jeter, including his time.

Starting price for posing for a picture with him: $1,000, more thousands to schedule a shake of his hand as an exercise in, ahem, mutual admiration. Next!

Hey, having made $265 million just for playing baseball — many product endorsements not included — he depended on his fans to ward off starvation.

But lots of us have sold our autographs — and for a lot more than Jeter. Yeah, on our mortgages.

ESPN, which now proudly features and promotes the rap music of Young Thug, continues to do all it can to attach sports with everything that is laying us low.

Monday, en route to commercials during Louisville-Virginia, ESPN showed how it posed Cavaliers star London Perrantes in two pregame poses: The first was of him making that street-ugly three-to-the-head gesture, in the other he was immodestly flexing his muscles.

Again, we know the downside, but what is the upside? For anyone?

Soon came a promo for last night’s Warriors-Thunder on ABC/ESPN. Played to pounding, loud and angry rap music and what sounded like shouted threats, it was less a invite to an attractive NBA matchup than a bloody showdown, Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant.

Why is it that the sell of basketball must now be equated with rap — not musical, catchy hip-hop, but the sights and sounds of angry, menacing, threatening, bad-dude rap?

The Knicks, despite being more conventional bad than bad, are attached to an MSG Network come-on starring some vitriol-hollering, mean-mugging rapper better suited for the overture to “The Latin Kings and I.”

But maybe it is either that or the sounds of James Dolan’s “JD & The Straight Shot.”

Man of the Week: ESPNU color analyst Nate Ross. He worked Thursday’s first-place Big South Conference game, Winthrop at UNC-Asheville, a packed-house spectacle won by the home team in double-overtime.

With seconds left in regulation, Asheville had the ball with a chance to win, when Ross defied the prevailing faux wisdom among pandering, cool-fool basketball commentators: “If they make it, I hope they don’t storm the court. Too many catastrophic things can happen.”

And have happened.

Itinerant Worker: Expect Doug Gottlieb, ex-ESPNer and current CBS SportsNet show host and basketball analyst, to soon move to FS1 and FOX’s Sports Radio to host a show and work as a court-side analyst. Gottlieb worked Saturday’s Seton Hall-St. John’s game on CBSSN.

Brent Musburger’s new gambling info/tout operation — disingenuously called “sports gaming” — already has been cleared on SiriusXM. And it already stinks. Musberger’s co-host will be Al Bernstein, once a credible ESPN boxing analyst but recently the host of a time-buy TV show starring some of the nation’s most infamous scamdicappers encouraging the desperate and dim-witted to get rich by buying their picks. Can’t wait to hear the ads on this channel.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas, working Thursday’s North Carolina-Duke, again confused our presence with our overwhelming desire to hear him lecture about basketball. Didn’t know whether to watch or take notes.

For those of us who years ago grew to trust Bob Costas, his appearance as a host/shill of NBC’s plausibly live and internationally corrupted Olympics made us — and perhaps him — uneasy. Costas now will be replaced by Mike Tirico.

According to an unreliable source, Wednesday’s courtside Charles Oakley hassle would’ve ended quickly had the cops summoned by James Dolan not been delayed to pay the Garden’s $5 facility fee.

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