Of­fi­cials face busy sum­mer with loom­ing dead­lines

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - NHL - By Matt Murschel Staff writer

AMELIA IS­LAND — John Swof­ford had hoped for a quiet sum­mer, but un­for­tu­nately for the com­mis­sioner of the ACC, that doesn’t appear to be in the fore­cast.

Two of the big­gest issues fac­ing col­lege ath­let­ics this sum­mer cen­ter around amend­ing the NCAA’s trans­fer leg­is­la­tion and the fall­out from the Con­doleezza Rice-chaired Com­mis­sion on Bas­ket­ball re­port that called for wide­spread changes to the col­lege bas­ket­ball model.

The proposed changes in­clude amend­ing NBA el­i­gi­bil­ity rules to end the one­and-done era and the NCAA tak­ing over the sum­mer re­cruit­ing tour­na­ments that played a big role in a sprawl­ing FBI cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The trans­fer rules and Rice com­mis­sion leg­is­la­tion face loom­ing dead­lines and have wide­spread im­pli­ca­tions for ACC schools.

“It’s a very event­ful time in col­lege ath­let­ics,” Swof­ford said Thurs­day fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the league’s an­nual spring meet­ings. “Peo­ple in col­lege ath­let­ics are not go­ing to have a nice re­lax­ing sum­mer some might have thought.

“With the Rice com­mis­sion, try­ing to take those con­cepts at the NCAA level and through a process of turn­ing those con­cepts into spe­cific leg­is­la­tion to bet­ter the game and that en­tire world within col­lege bas­ket­ball and sur­round­ing col­lege bas­ket­ball.”

Swof­ford said much of the dis­cus­sions at this week’s meet­ings were about the im­pli­ca­tions of the com­mis­sion’s re­port and un­der­stand­ing the ac­cel­er­ated process that the NCAA has im­ple­mented as it pushes to­ward an Au­gust dead­line.

“That’s a huge chal­lenge to try and move it that quickly,” Swof­ford added. “We all know the NCAA isn’t used to mov­ing that quickly. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it move that quickly.”

Tour­na­ment changes

One sur­pris­ing de­vel­op­ment out of this week’s meet­ings was the league look­ing to put to­gether a rec­om­men­da­tion for ex­pan­sion of the NCAA men’s bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Swof­ford, the bas­ket­ball coaches threw their sup­port be­hind a pro­posal that would add four ad­di­tional teams to the cur­rent 68-team model; in essence, adding two more play-in games to the tour­na­ment. Cur­rently, the two play-in games or First Four are played in Day­ton, Ohio, with the win­ner ad­vanc­ing into the tour­na­ment.

“Maybe ge­o­graphic where you have one in Day­ton and one in the western part of the United States,” he ex­plained.

Swof­ford said the pro­posal would have to go through the Bas­ket­ball Over­sight Com­mit­tee be­fore be­ing voted on by the NCAA’s Board of Di­rec­tors.

Kick­off rules

Foot­ball coaches spent part of this week dis­cussing player safety, in­clud­ing the im­pact of the NCAA’s new kick­off rule. The re­ceiv­ing team on a kick­off can now call a fair catch in­side the 25-yard line and it would au­to­mat­i­cally be con­sid­ered a touch­back. The foot­ball would be placed back on the 25-yard line.

Swof­ford said the league’s coaches want to see changes made to the kick­off play it­self and while they didn’t set­tle on any­thing spe­cific yet, the con­sen­sus was it’s an im­por­tant play that needs to change in the fu­ture for the ben­e­fit of the play­ers.

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