ACC lead­ers fac­ing dead­lines

Orlando Sentinel - - COLLEGES - By Matt Murschel

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 Ricechaired 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.

UCF FOOT­BALL “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.”

Swof­ford added that the fo­cus this week was mak­ing sure ad­min­is­tra­tors were as knowl­edge­able as they can pos­si­bly be through this process. He also re­vealed that the NCAA has cre­ated sev­eral work­ing groups to fo­cus on spe­cific ar­eas of the com­mis­sion re­port and the ACC will have a pres­ence on these groups with seven school ad­min­is­tra­tors, in­clud­ing Notre Dame ath­let­ics di­rec­tor Jack Swar­brick and Miami ath­let­ics di­rec­tor Blake James.

“We feel very good about hav­ing our rep­re­sen­ta­tion on those work­ing groups,” Swof­ford added. “This thing is such a fast-flow­ing process and it’s some­thing we’re go­ing to need to be touch­ing it fre­quently dur­ing the next three months with those work­ing groups.”

He in­di­cated that while the league has cer­tain ideas that it will present to those work­ing groups, the ACC wasn’t ready to pro­pose any spe­cific changes com­ing out of this week’s event.

“I don’t want to get out ahead of the train,” Swof­ford said when asked to de­scribe any changes proposed.

Swof­ford ad­dressed sev­eral other issues fac­ing the league:

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 ge­o­graph­i­cally 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.

He also in­di­cated those changes could come in the form of elim­i­nat­ing the kick­off al­to­gether.

“I would be very sur­prised if we don’t see some change in that play in the near fu­ture in col­lege foot­ball,” Swof­ford added.

Swof­ford said the up­com­ing launch of the ACC Net­work is “ex­actly where we would want it to be” af­ter meet­ing with of­fi­cials from ESPN ear­lier this week.

The 24-hour chan­nel, sim­i­lar to the SEC Net­work, is still set to go live in Au­gust 2019.

“You can feel the en­ergy pick­ing up both within our room and cer­tainly with ESPN as the time gets closer and closer,” Swof­ford said.

He said talks will pick up over the next few months on the tal­ent and the shows that will be show­cased on the net­work.


ACC Com­mis­sioner John Swof­ford said the league will help groups work­ing to quickly pass NCAA rule changes.

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