Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford smiled down from his perch on the Media Days podium Sunday, visibly more comfortable with his league’s standing in the national picture than in years past.
With the league’s new agreement with the Orange Bowl guaranteeing its spot in the BCS postseason for years to come beginning in 2014 -- although an opponent, whether it be Notre Dame or the Big East or another league, has yet to be announced -- the ACC is in a much more powerful position in the constantly changing college landscape.
But, there’s always some downside at these events, and Miami has provided the ammunition this time around, thanks to the recent Yahoo! Sports report regarding the program’s possible non-compliance with NCAA rules. Swofford could not directly address the matter since the investigation is ongoing, but he was quick to point out the stain on the conference’s image due to the allegations.
“Those are the situations you never want in any conference,” Swofford said. “The sooner we can get the several problems facing this league behind us the better.”
Those problems have included, over the past few months, the North Carolina Tar Heels’ academic scandal, conference realignment threatening the membership of top institutions Clemson and Florida State and the ACC’s wavering status among the top conferences in college football. Swofford has insisted that his conference joins the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 among the nation’s power conferences, and he reiterated that in his Q&A sessions.
Here are a of couple more highlights from the start of ACC Media Days:
-- Swofford dodged a question regarding Penn State, refusing to outline what he believes the violations and punishments should be regarding such criminal situations. The NCAA is expected to release its findings Monday at 9 a.m.
“I have no insight as to what’s coming tomorrow morning, that will be interesting for all of us,” Swofford said. “But certainly when a tragedy like that occurs, that goes well beyond [athletics]. You hope that the right people find the right approach in terms of what should be done.”
-- There were many questions regarding the league’s relationship with Notre Dame, whether it be as a member or as an opponent in the Orange Bowl deal, but Swofford was noncommittal on those issues as well. Notre Dame remains a potential (and lucrative) opponent for the BCS bowl game, but there was no news on the subject.
As to the Irish joining the conference, Swofford laughed it off but did allude to Notre Dame’s interest in remaining independent.