Swofford brags on conference success at ACC meetings

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Commissioner John Swofford touts conference successes on the final day of the ACC meetings.

I'm not sure we learned 10 more things on the final day of the ACC Spring Meetings - but there were surely a few things worth mentioning from John Swofford's media pow wow that wound things up.

1) National Titles in both of the major college sports. Having the champs in both football and basketball calling the ACC home is obviously a massive deal, something that's only been accomplished 10 times all-time (three times by the ACC). Toss in returning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson at Louisville and ACC football, long a national punching bag landed a KO in 2016-17.

Because of No. 1...

2) There was a newfound sense of braggadocio this year among the league's football coaches. For so long, the ACC was made to defend its caliber of football and argue that it belonged at the upper echelon. More than one coach this year, Larry Fedora and Jimbo Fisher among them, made declarative statements about the ACC having the best coaches and being, in Fisher's parlance, "the best league for ball." They've gone from aspiring to achieving. First it was about scheduling bigtime non-conference games. Now, the ACC wins those games, and major bowls, and 2 Nattys in the past 4 years.

3) Swofford lauded an amazing regular season for hoops for the ACC, also mentioning the league's NCAA best nine bids to the tournament. Carolina of course cut down the nets to end the season, but if we're being honest here, the Heels saved the league from some ignominy in Phoenix as the rest of the ACC's teams largely crashed and burned.

ABC11's Mark Armstrong discusses the state of the ACC with commissioner John Swofford.



4) The ACC television network is coming and it will be spectacular. That's to hear Swoff say it anyway. There has been widespread skepticism, given the rapidly shifting media (and TV specifically) landscape that the days of launching league vanity cable channels had maybe passed by. Not so, stressed everyone here. Swofford expects the ACC to eventually match the revenues posted by the SEC and Big 10. It was repeatedly stressed throughout the weekend that ESPN is the No. 1 sports network in the world and that the ACC Network is not a charity venture by the cable giant, but a partnership based in the shared belief they're going to generate large sums of cash money.

5) Swofford wants the network to have a "distinctly ACC flavor." When I asked him what that meant in his mind, he said he wasn't sure how to define it in terms of what that would look like on television. The core characteristics of the league though would shine through. Those being, in his mind, athletic and academic excellence partnered together, success in all sports, and a sense of family.

WATCH: Full video as John Swofford addresses the media


6) "It feels just as good as when we were just 8 or 9 (member schools)" -- the Commish says he hasn't felt this at ease with the state of his conference in at least a decade. The howling wolves of expansion and conference realignment and constant TV renegotiations have all been put to bed for the foreseeable future. Adding new schools he said made building the shared sense of league-wide trust a constant work in progress. Swofford now feels they've recaptured the culture that defined the ACC before all the changes of the past 10 years.
7) Swofford insisted the ACC doesn't play much of a role in UNC's ongoing dance with the NCAA. When I asked him about whether he'd personally be in Indianapolis whenever the Committee on Infractions meets again, he wouldn't say, but did say the ACC compliance and league office will be represented. Swofford was there in Indy for UNC's first hearing (now years ago).

8) The length of NCAA investigations continues to be Swofford's greatest annoyance with the process. He'd like to see things hastened for all schools, offering up the well-worn notion that the length of the process becomes a penalty in itself.

9) He did not express any concern when I asked about UNC's case being heard by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey (head of the COI). Sankey is responsible for breathing new life into the NCAA's investigation of Carolina's academic irregularities, but despite his role as boss of a 'rival' league, Swofford said the system of peer review is set up to weed out any perceived bias that may or may not exist.

10) When I asked about UNC's case being precedent-setting in regards to punishment for academics and the uncertainty that comes with that, Swoff had a simple answer: "I've long ago stopped trying to predict what'll happen with an NCAA investigation."

And with that - we are done here. Hoping my suitcase makes it back home safely with me. Please don't make me gate-check it again, airline people.

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