Officials face busy summer with looming deadlines
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.”
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.
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.