Before heading to the NCAA meetings and convention taking place in San Diego later this week, ACC Commissioner John Swofford joined The David Glenn Show to discuss a number of relevant topics, including a potentially system-altering proposal that will be discussed at those meetings which would allow the 5 power conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-12, SEC) more autonomy within the current NCAA structure.
Swofford also discussed the latest update in the ACC vs. Maryland legal battle, a record-setting bowl season for the conference, Louisville’s hiring of Bobby Petrino and more.
On Maryland’s $157 million countersuit:
“Our lawyers will take care of that, it’s not something I’m going to get in to. [The lawsuit is] really not that different than what was thrown out of court in the state of Maryland. Of course, jurisdictionally the case will now be heard in North Carolina. I’ll leave it at that and you can read between the lines.”
On NCAA re-structuring proposal:
“I think we’re at a crossroads in terms of the NCAA and what it will look like going forward, and I’m encouraged by the discussions going on. I don’t think there will be any decisions made this week at the convention.”
“The expectation is [some time in 2014] that we may see some significant change in the organization itself from a structure standpoint and the anticipation is the 5 major equity conferences–I guess you would call us–will have more autonomy going forward. I think the athletic directors will be more involved in the ongoing processes of the NCAA….hopefully my optimism will become a reality in the next 6 to 12 months.”
On ACC Football Divisions, Championship Game participants, Swofford pointed out it is NCAA regulations that mandate a conference, and in order to have a conference title game, each conference must have at least 12 teams and two divisions (whose winners meet in the conference title games). He added:
“We would like to see the NCAA legislation basically eliminated because we wonder why the NCAA should really control that. We think that should be a conference decision. I think, too, that having to have 12 schools has contributed to a lot of the conference movement that has gone on…so we’d like to see that eliminated.”
“We’d also like to have the autonomy, have the flexibility–as every conference would have the autonomy to do so–to determine who should play in that championship game.”
Swofford listed several possible options the ACC would look at regarding divisions if they were granted that autonomy, though he did point out that just being given the autonomy to make a change doesn’t mean they would necessarily do so.
On the 2013-2014 football season:
Swofford’s stats (or at least the ones he used in this interview): 3 BCS Bowl wins in 2 seasons; “National Championship back under our belt”; 11 bowl teams (record for any conference); 11 teams with winning seasons (first time in NCAA since 1932); Heisman, Outland Trophies plus a record haul of individual awards.
“It’s been a banner year, and it comes at a really good time, because we needed that. We’ve had our struggles in postseason and particularly at the BCS level in the past decade, but we’ve got some of our premier programs either back where you would expect them to be, or on track to be back where you’d expect them to be.”
On Louisville’s hiring of Bobby Petrino:
“I don’t Bobby. I do know [Louisville AD] Tom Jurich and Jim Ramsey the President of the University of Louisville and I have great confidence in them. Obviously, Bobby is an excellent football coach; he’s been successful everywhere he’s been in that regard.”
“Louisville would know whether that’s the right fit for them, and obviously they felt that it was, in terms of continuing the upper trajectory of their football program. My confidence is in Tom Jurich, who I know well and think is an outstanding Athletic Director.”
“Those decisions are institutional in nature, not conference in nature.”
Swofford also happened to have just spoken with Petrino by phone that morning: “We had a very good conversation. Hopefully Bobby will be a great addition to Louisville and to the ACC.”
On ACC hoops, the “best conference” tag, and some overall league struggles on the court:
“When you look historically, and you look at what the basketball programs in our league today have done, it’s a collection of basketball programs that I would still say are unmatched.”
“There’s a lot of basketball to be played this season as well. We’ve had some real highlights and we’ve had some teams that are puzzling, without question….I think what we’re going to see is over the longer haul is the continuation of a tremendous basketball league going forward.”
And, of course, on the future sites for the ACC Tournament, which is scheduled to be in Greensboro the next two years, followed by Washington, DC:
“We are interested in being in New York–I don’t think that’s any secret–at times going forward, but there are contractual agreements that other conferences have and arenas have; it’s not an open book necessarily in New York right now, but we think it’s important in the future to be there in some degree. We continue to evaluate that and discuss it. Having the next three years settled, it’s not like we have to look at this with a gun to our head.”
To hear the interview in its entirety, please click the player below: