ACC leaders facing 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 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.