By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford was in Clemson this past Friday to honor Clemson President James Barker, who announced his plans for retirement earlier this summer.
Swofford met with the Clemson Board of Trustees and President Barker for lunch on Friday after the board asked him to come to Clemson to update them on the new ACC and other happenings within the league.
“It was just an update on where we have been and where we are going,” Swofford said Sunday as he addressed the media as part of the 42nd Annual ACC Football Kickoff from the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.
It’s the second summer in a row the ACC’s commissioner was invited to Clemson to update the board of trustees.
“When one of my bosses invites me to be somewhere, I try to be there,” he said. “They are a great group of people.
“I had an opportunity to honor Jim Barker. Jim and I have had an opportunity to build a very good relationship over the years. He has been instrumental to me in a lot of way, and what has occurred in the ACC over time with expansion. He has been a real trusted advisor and friend. I’m going to miss him.”
ACC Channel. Swofford said he did not have much of an update on the ACC Channel, except that the league is still in the process of evaluating its feasibility with ESPN.
“That will take a while,” he said. “I don’t think I will be putting out press releases in regards to that process. That is an evaluation we will be looking at. The SEC, by the time they launch, they will have spent about three years evaluating it and figuring it out that it makes sense to try this.
“I figure our process will take a similar amount of time.”
Darius Robinson pay attention. Swofford says he is not in favor of playing college athletes money.
“If we are going to enhance the financial well-being of our student athletes, then it is very difficult to look at it in terms of a sport or two sports, just from a legal standpoint. What’s the bottom line? What’s appropriate and what’s moral and what is legal? And then just address that.
“Should it be just based on need? A lot of people are supportive of enhancing the scholarship based on need. But I don’t think that’s what college athletics is about. But I am for looking very diligently at enhancing the scholarship itself, whether it is need based or just a simple stipend.”
Maryland’s legal issue. Swofford said Maryland has been an excellent member of the ACC since 1953 and the coaches and the athletes deserve the very best of the ACC in playing in their last year in the league.
“I don’t think of Maryland any differently other than being short term and then we go from there.”
As for legislation with the $50 million Maryland has to pay the ACC for leaving the conference as part of its buyout, Swofford refused to discuss the matter and said his lawyers will handle that. He did say though, “so far so good.”