Swofford's State of the ACC Address

PINEHURST, N.C. – At his annual State of the ACC Address, Commissioner John Swofford discussed rule changes, the future of the ACC Football Championship Game and what is being done to prevent possible gambling by referees and officials.

There are some new rule changes that will take place for this season, but none of them are drastic.

* The timing with the kickoff will revert back to the old rule with the clock not starting until the ball is touched by the receiving team. Last year, it started when the foot met the ball.

* Following a television timeout, a 15 second play clock will be introduced, which means teams will need to be ready at the line of scrimmage when game returns to television.

* Non media timeouts will no longer be 60 seconds. They will no be 30 seconds, which means fewer commercials.

* Following a change of possession, the clock will start on the snap. Last year, it started when the official placed the ball.

* The kickoff has been moved from the 35-yard-line back to the 30, which will result in many more returns.

* When the official hands the ball to the kicker for a kickoff, the 25-second clock will get underway.

* There are three new plays in which replay can review. 1) To correct any error in downs marked on the sideline. 2) To see if there is any interference off the bench. 3) Whether a kick was muffed or fumbled.

In regard to the championship game, Swofford said four cities – Charlotte, Jacksonville, Tampa and Orlando – are all vying for the game in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He added that one city could host all three years or that it could be divided up between two or three locations.

"We're just trying to find what's best for the ACC," he said.

The deadline for the cities to submit their bids and proposals is Aug. 31. After that, the final announcement will be made in December, most likely just before or immediately after the championship game in Jacksonville.

As far as preventing unsavory officials, the ACC is conducting background checks on all officials for football, men's basketball and women's basketball.

Each of the roughly 225 officials will be asked to sign a waver former to allow a look into their criminal history, driving history and credit history. If the official refuses, then he or she will not be allowed to officiate games in the ACC.

The ACC and Big 10 are currently the only two conferences doing such checks in order to try and prevent gambling from its officials.

"It hits at the very integrity of the games that we play and we can absolutely never, never lost that integrity," Swofford said.

Other news included that each team will wear a black stripe on their uniform in honor of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Also, a new command center at the ACC headquarters in Greensboro will be set up to monitor every single play and penalty called.

It was also announced that nearly 38 percent of all reviewed plays last year resulted in being overturned by replay. That's on the high end from the rest of the conferences in the nation. The lowest was 27 percent.

CUTigers.com Top Stories