Kickoff: Commissioner Swofford's Forum

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The 2009 ACC Football Kickoff officially began today with ACC Commissioner John Swofford's Football Forum. Swofford fielded questions from the media and here's a sampling of what he had to say.

  • Swofford was asked about the SEC's new television contract, and the commissioner called it 'quite a contract' in terms of money and duration.

    He acknowledged that there is a 'new standard set' and that there is going to be separation between leagues now and then.

  • The league has two years remaining on its current TV contract but has already begin preliminary discussions with its current partners.

    Swofford mentioned that football and basketball will be up at the same time this cycle, and there is an opportunity to negotiate them together if the ACC decides to go in that direction.

  • Swofford mentioned the ACC is also looking at 'new models', hinting that if discussions with partners fell apart they might look at creating its own network. At this point, however, he called it 'merely a concept.'

  • The commissioner called the overall quality of the conference 'really really good' last season, referencing the 10 teams that played in bowl contests.

    But he acknowledged that the league needs to have a national championship contender and win 'certain games outside the league' to improve its overall perception.

  • Associate Commissioner Michael Kelly spoke about the decision to move the championship game into prime time. Kelly said the move is designed to draw more local fans and give fans of participating teams more time to get to Tampa.

  • Doug Rhoads, the league's officiating coordinator, said that last year's clock changes shortened ACC contests by an average of 12 minutes while only eliminating nine plays – about one play per team per quarter.

  • Rhoads pointed out that there were 184 reviews during league games last season, and play was stopped an average of 1:24 for each review. There were 46 reversals on those reviews.

    Overall he called the review system 'nothing but a positive thing' for the game.

  • Starting this year rules changes will occur on a two-year cycle. All rules changes for this season will remain in place for the 2010 season as well.

  • There were only a few minor rule changes for the coming year. Both teams can now wear their dark jerseys as long as the agreement has been made in writing prior to the game.

    The tackle box was redefined to be five yards on each side of the center and the chin strap has been including as part of the face mask for penalties.

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