This recent interview with the ACC's top dog got lost in the shuffle of March Madness. But better late than never for some rare candor by Swofford.
Q: So is the ACC not now thinking in terms of expansion to 16?
A: I think the best way to answer that is we are very settled right now with 14, very happy with 14. I don't think that means we would never consider 16, but it's not something that is on our plate at this given point in time.
Q: What is the latest on when Syracuse and Pitt will begin play in the league?
A: We know they will not be with us in ‘12-13, and beyond that, we will respect Pitt and Syracuse and their working with the Big East on the departure.
Q: Are you concerned about the revenue disparity between the ACC's television contract and some other leagues' larger deals? Will a renegotiation of your ESPN contract address that?
A: It will. One of the benefits of our expansion . . . is that it allows us to renegotiate our television contract. A lot of TV negotiation is timing and circumstance. The deal we made just a couple of years ago was an outstanding one at the time, [but] circumstances changed and other players came into the marketplace. So the relativity of it changed sooner than we would have ever dreamed, but this gives us the opportunity to [alter] that arrangement, and we're in the process of doing that.
Q: One report had each ACC school gaining an extra $1 million to $2 million per year from the renegotiation. Is that correct?
A: We haven't finalized that yet. I'd rather not comment on that at this point, other than to say that I think we're going to be very pleased with where we are financially when all is said and done.
Q: With the ACC's geographical proximity to the SEC, do the SEC's six consecutive football national championships cast a shadow, especially in light of the ACC's record [2-13] in BCS bowls?
A: First of all, you give credit where credit is due, and that is a remarkable run [by the SEC]. Beyond that, we just need to be the best we can possibly be, regardless of anybody else, and I think that is where our programs are focused. We've had some real good things happen in ACC football, but we can do better on the national stage than we have done over the past decade. I am fully confident we will do that.
Q: Did NCAA investigations within the past year of rules violations at North Carolina, Miami and Georgia Tech damage the ACC's brand? And if so how do you go about rebuilding it?
Q: ACC schools had mixed opinions about the NCAA legislation authorizing multi-year scholarships, replacing the previous practice of offering one-year renewable scholarships. [Six members, including Georgia Tech, voted last month to override the legislation.] Why was there such a split?
A: I think some of [the opposition] was a concern from a financial standpoint; some of it was a philosophical concern; some of it was due to the fact that we had multi-year scholarships years ago and they were eliminated. I think others felt that a stronger commitment to the athletes was appropriate at this given point in time. . . . The devil is in the details with this and the [proposed $2,000 stipend for athletes] as well. I think some [schools] are philosophically in favor of both but not happy that maybe the details were not tied down to the degree they would have wanted.
Q: Now that the override failed and multi-year scholarships will be permitted [but not required], do you expect all ACC schools to offer them?
A: I suspect that they will, but it is up to each institution to do what it believes is in its best interes