ACC commissioner John Swofford spoke with reporters after the conclusion of this year’s ACC spring meetings, which took place digitally. The biggest takeaway from Swofford’s discussion came on the topic of the 2020 ACC football season.
As the country continues to deal with the fallout and potential recovery from the COVID-19 global pandemic, the topic of how and when to re-open sports is a priority for those in the business of sports administration.
ACC commissioner John Swofford: "We are going into this year with the anticipation of playing at this point. All of our institutions are indicating they intend to open in various fashions as we go into the fall."
He added of course that things could change.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) May 14, 2020
According to Swofford, the league intends to have a football season in 2020: “We are going into this year with the anticipation of playing.” A wide variety of scenarios are being discussed, though. This includes a potential “worst-case” scenario of no sports, which would obviously be a major financial blow.
It’s unclear who will have the final say on what happens will college football this fall; as some states slowly (or quickly) start to re-open, others will take a more conservative approach in some matters. Regardless, conference commissioners, like Swofford, will be the central decision-makers for their leagues: will football return? If so, when? And what if student aren’t present on campus in the fall?
For now, Swofford anticipates that football will be played; however, there’s no set date to establish that by.
John Swofford on the possibility of football returning without students back on campus: "That seems foreign to me. … Most people I talk with in college athletics and higher education agree that’s a foreign thought to most of us."
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) May 14, 2020
During the call, Swofford also mentioned that — despite the financial hit of no NCAA basketball tournaments — the league intends to distribute 98 percent of its projected revenue. Swofford credits the ACC Network, which brought in additional money, for helping with these financial concerns. (This figure is similar to what Swofford mentioned three weeks ago to veteran college sports reporter David Teel.)
The ACC has also created a COVID-19 advisory group, which will be chaired by Dr. Cameron Wolfe, a Duke professor in the division of infectious disease. All 15 ACC schools will have representation on the committee, too.