What We Heard: Swofford thrilled with the ACC's success

What We Heard: Swofford thrilled with the ACC's success

Football

What We Heard: Swofford thrilled with the ACC's success

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Commissioner of the ACC John Swofford spoke to the media Wednesday morning at the annual ACC Football Kickoff.

Swofford on ACC Network advances:

“Today we’re approaching the one-year countdown to the linear launch of that network. As we look ahead, there are several important initiatives on the collective to-do list as we lead up to next August. We’re appreciative of the support and dedication and commitment by our partners at ESPN. Just yesterday in CLT, we completed an ACC/ESPN production meeting to begin the process for the ACC Network. There will be a lot of planning and coordinating over the next year. By next spring, we will have identified the talent for the shows that will be on the ACC Network as well as the field reporters. Rest assured, by kickoff next year, there will be more answers about the ACC Network. We are right on schedule. Our partners at ESPN have tremendous vision and we are extremely pleased with the efforts that continue to be made for the ACC Network launch.”

Swofford on sports gambling law change:

“We will not be releasing injury reports this year. (Though he said this is not directly tied to the new gambling rule.) I personally like this rule because we are helping out with the safety of the players.”
(As for his thoughts on the gambling rule) “My guess is, we will have a national injury report that is consistent across the board. This will include not only injuries but disciplinary actions as well that may keep players from playing in a game or practice. My general feeling is that is probably something that needs to happen on a national level. It probably won’t happen until next season though. What I am concerned about most is sports gambling… I know it can be incredibly problematic for the integrity of our games. I don’t like the optics of gambling and college sports but at the same time it has obviously been going on for years illegally. I don’t know what legalizing it will change everything. It is more of a ‘what if…what if…’. But, people are going to be betting on our players and some people have a moral problem with that. There are just a lot of questions there to answer and work through but not a lot of answers yet. I think that each state should have the right to decide whether or not they want to legalize gambling.”

Swofford on the rise of ACC football: 

“I don’t think it’s explainable in one or two aspects. I think it’s multiple. I think it really started in the early 2000s when we begin talking about expansion and the need for expansion. We felt like, looking ahead, that we had to do two things: one was to grow and to enhance our footprint and our marketing and our television sets; and the other thing was we had to get more competitive top to bottom in football. Those were the two items we beat to death, and we got there. But the biggest thing was the institutions responding to the challenge to improve football — to bring our football up to a level nationally to basketball. … When you look at the conference and our quality games, they are games you actually want to see. It is remarkable.”

Swofford on ACC Championship Game and relationship with the Panthers: 

“The new owner of the Panthers, David Tepper, is a Pitt graduate so we consider him an ACC guy. We have signed a contract to keep the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte until 2030.”

Swofford on how the College Football Playoff benefits the ACC:

“I have said this before. I think the CFP is one of the greatest start-ups in college football history. I don’t say that just because we have been in it the first four years. I think our league has improved consistently over the years but I am sure there will be a time where our league isn’t in the playoffs but I’d like to put that off as best as we can. But, I think the CFP has been really great for the ACC and for all of college football. I have realized how important it is to celebrate success and not take any moment for granted. I think we all understand how difficult it is to be the best and to win championships. Our coaches, players and programs embody a high standard of excellence. The ACC is the only conference to win national championships in football, basketball, women’s basketball and baseball in the last four years.”

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