Kickoff: Commissioner John Swofford's Forum

<B>GREENSBORO, N.C. --</b> ACC Commissioner John Swofford met with the media at the ACC Football Kickoff and here's a sampling of what he had to say.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford opens the forum by discussing expansion:
Expansion means a great deal to this league and I think the league is enhanced, strengthened, and better positioned for the future. That's a good feeling.

Several of you asked me around July 1st if that was a special day. Internally in a way it was, there's no question about that, because two terrific schools and programs came on board that day. But in reality from an administrative standpoint, the transition from those two schools and Boston College as well has been a seamless transition. So from an internal operational standpoint we are way down the road with these schools.

Although they didn't have a vote on certain issues (prior to July 1st) they had an input in decisions that were made and now we're to a point where it really begins to get fun. Now the emphasis will be back where it really belongs and that's on the competition and the student-athletes. I think ACC fans are going to have a great time this year looking at new teams, schedules, and it appears entering the year that competition will be at a very high level.

Swofford addresses ACC football to the media:
Last year, in terms of ACC football, it was a very good year for us. We went 5-1 in bowl games, which was the best mark of any conference. We are the only conference to have a winning bowl record over the past three seasons. We broke our attendance records last year in football. There's now a lot there to look forward to. As I said earlier, we are unquestionably strengthened, this gives us a depth of quality from a competitive standpoint which we haven't experienced in this particular sport.

The commissioner discusses where the ACC stands with making a decision for the championship game:
We are in the process of making that selection. We have a sub-committee of four athletic directors that will make a recommendation to the full group of athletic directors who will then ask the faculty representatives to concur with their recommendation. We haven't set a specific date for that decision to be announced, but I expect it to either be before the season or early in the season. That will give us and the host city plenty of time before the 2005 championship game to put everything together. We have been very, very pleased with the proposals that have come forward and now it comes down to making the best decision because I don't think we can make a bad decision.

With the championship game do you intend on signing a multi-year deal with a single city or will the game move around to different locations?
In talking about it with the athletic directors, we are leaning more towards finding a home for the championship game. We are probably looking at a 2-year contract with a 2-year option for us to stay possibly four years. The SEC and Big 12 officials have been very beneficial and as you know they go about it two completely different ways. It's not done yet and until we finalize it things can change, but I think it's likely that we'll find a home for the championship game.

What we want to be certain of is that it goes to a city that will truly wrap its arms around the game. Financially with the proposals that are coming in the game is going to be successful.

How important is it that the league is perceived as the best in football either this year or in the future?
I think what we want to do is have the capability to be the best and to compete at the highest level in all of our sports. We can maintain the traditional academic and athletic balance that I think this league has had for years.

I think it's tough to determine who is the best, except over a long period of time.

Why five years instead of four years of eligibility when it comes to the college student and the new academic proposal?
With the regular student taking 4.8 years to graduate and you consider the demands on athletes at this time I think it's a reasonable approach. We haven't put this before our presidents yet and that's something I'll talk with them about in September, but I think it's reasonable. The fact of the matter is that it will be very much in sync with the timeframe that non-athletes take to graduate.


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