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ACC Commissioner John Swofford to retire
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schmolik Offline
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RE: ACC Commissioner John Swofford to retire
Was the ACC's long term contract until 2036/37 a mistake? Sure you're locked into a contract you can't or have limited opportunity to renegotiate (I don't know the exact details of it). But it also protects the conference. Maybe the Pac-12 and/or Big 12 remain intact after their next contracts but if one of them lose members the ACC will be happy they didn't lose anyone. We're assuming the Pac-12 and/or Big 12 will get big raises in their next media deals. Do we know that for a fact? If one or both get shafted, then the ACC also won. Also, Notre Dame football isn't going to any other conference other than the ACC for the length of this deal, that's huge.

Maybe after 2025 we'll look back and say the ACC screwed themselves and they're the 5th P5 because the Big 12 and Pac 12 are intact and swimming in cash. Or we'll look back and say the ACC was lucky to lock themselves in and they're the 3rd P5. What we won't say is they're not a P5 because North Carolina and Virginia are in the Big Ten and Clemson and Florida State are in the SEC which could have happened if their media deals/GOR only lasted until 2025.
06-28-2020 01:31 PM
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AllTideUp Offline
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Post: #82
RE: ACC Commissioner John Swofford to retire
(06-28-2020 10:58 AM)XLance Wrote:  
(06-27-2020 09:19 PM)AllTideUp Wrote:  
(06-27-2020 06:18 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  
(06-26-2020 10:39 PM)AllTideUp Wrote:  
(06-26-2020 10:22 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  I think Swofford would be better remembered had he sold his membership on East Coast unity in 2004 and instead of leaving Big East football to die a slow and painful death, pushed his 9 members to add the 7 full Big East schools (no Temple) for a 16 team super league.

North: BC, Cuse, Rutgers, Pitt, M’land, WVU, VT, Miami
South: UVA, UNC, NC St, Duke, WF, Clemson, GT, FSU

I can't argue with that. For one, that's a really strong league in a lot of respects. Secondly, it would have demonstrated vision rather than desperation.

There was too much hemming and hawing over what Big East products were helpful. Too much snobbery.

Let's not also forget that some of the missteps along the way created a situation where a founding member in Maryland felt the need to leave. Contrast that with your idea and had it been completed early enough then who knows, perhaps both Notre Dame and Penn State would have been attracted to the ACC?

I suppose it could have been worse for the ACC, but the league was pretty close to collapse before they signed their GOR. I see no reason to think Swofford as anything more than a fairly inept example of middle-management. ESPN mostly told him what to do and he didn't do a great job of leading the schools under him.

Both statements above are all wrong. From its founding, the ACC had only two schools that really emphasized football...Clemson and Maryland. Duke had taken football seriously historically, but by the 1950s their focus had shifted to basketball and Olympic sports. Over time, even Maryland transitioned to much more of a basketball-first school (thanks largely to great success by Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams). Basketball preeminence was an addictive drug that gave the ACC the best media rights payouts into the 1990s. The challenge for ACC commissioners for decades has been to focus more support for football.

I understand your point, but by the early 2000s, it was clear the ACC needed a new path. That's exactly what they tried to put together with Miami, VT, and BC(who used to be regarded as a better football product than they are now). With that said, it's obvious Swofford didn't really fix the problem.

His vision came down to an incremental expansion of football prowess rather than capitalizing on the issues within the Big East. In other words, he didn't manage the situation very well.

(06-27-2020 06:18 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  By the time Swofford became commissioner, the ship had sailed on Penn State (it was already in the BIG) and his predecessors had solidified football by adding Georgia Tech and FSU.

I know Penn State was already in the Big Ten, but there are reasons they could have been interested in the ACC had the league played their cards right. Too many of the ACC's decisions were short-sighted.

I'll give you credit for Florida State, especially snatching them away from the SEC's clutches, but Georgia Tech has never been a prime football product even though it's a football first school. They're a good addition to the ACC, but Swofford should have taken the 9 team foundation that had been laid and had his eye set more on the future.

(06-27-2020 06:18 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  “East Coast unity” nor “ESPN told him” where hardly Swofford’s vision nor approach. Swofford had to transform the ACC into a football first conference. I would argue that when Maryland unexpectedly left and Louisville was chosen over UConn, Swofford’s legacy was confirmed.

Swofford’s weakness has been his lack of skill in negotiating for better payouts...basically, leveraging his assets for financial stability. College athletics has become a big business and Swofford was very conservative in adapting to the changing landscape.

Isn't that basically what I said? He was tasked with managing and didn't perform at a high level. The world was changing around him and he didn't know how to handle it.

Sure, ESPN told him what to do. That's basically what the Boston College AD said when they added Syracuse and Pittsburgh. ESPN has had a hand in a lot of decisions the last 20 years or so. They are the ones paying the bills after all so it's not a conspiracy. It's basic business.

Even then, the ACC has been particularly vulnerable to their influence due to weaker ratings AND the fact their markets are so split. With a little more foresight, Swofford or someone else could have realized that they could have increased their leverage by absorbing every decent product in the Big East at one time. That would have provided leverage...it would have also added quite a few decent basketball products at one time. It wasn't necessary to turn every school into a football factory.

Trying to change the culture of multiple schools is a poor plan, it's not going to happen. He just needed to convince a few schools to invest in football more while simultaneously adding some schools with punch.

Now it may be true that Louisville is more of a football first school than Maryland, but the Big Ten is a football first league and people at UMD were happy to be in a conference that focused resources on that sport. Mostly, it was a financial decision for them. In other words, it wasn't a matter of Maryland bucking against any effort to focus on football in the ACC. It was a matter that the ACC had been so poorly managed that it was no longer tenable for them.

And to Louisville, they got in because a few of the football powers threatened to revolt unless it happened. That doesn't come back to Swofford being a good manager...just the opposite.

(06-27-2020 06:18 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  It’s crazy to blame him for not getting Penn State or Notre Dame (he also didn’t get Ohio State nor UGA...but maybe they weren’t in play). It’s naive to suggest that he just followed ESPN’s guidance (the ACC has made horrible TV deals...including propping up Raycom to the detriment of ESPN and financial payouts).

The Raycom deal was straight nepotism. Now, it might be fair to say that wasn't in the best interest of ESPN, but it wasn't in the best interest of the ACC either. Once again, Swofford mismanaged the situation.

I'm not really blaming him for not landing ND or Penn State. What I'm saying is that he made a series of poor decisions over a long period of time that removed the ACC's ability to possibly acquire those schools. Consistently poor TV contracts will keep quality schools from being interested.

Your point about his inability to make quality TV deals simply underscores my point. ESPN makes more money if they pay less for their product. If you have a leader in Swofford who doesn't understand the landscape then your league probably gets taken advantage of by a corporate entity that doesn't interest itself in much of anything more than profit.

This post is absolute 04-bs.

You're getting slow on the trigger, my friend.

I expected you to chime in on that way earlier.
06-28-2020 01:38 PM
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JRsec Offline
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Post: #83
RE: ACC Commissioner John Swofford to retire
(06-28-2020 01:38 PM)AllTideUp Wrote:  
(06-28-2020 10:58 AM)XLance Wrote:  
(06-27-2020 09:19 PM)AllTideUp Wrote:  
(06-27-2020 06:18 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  
(06-26-2020 10:39 PM)AllTideUp Wrote:  I can't argue with that. For one, that's a really strong league in a lot of respects. Secondly, it would have demonstrated vision rather than desperation.

There was too much hemming and hawing over what Big East products were helpful. Too much snobbery.

Let's not also forget that some of the missteps along the way created a situation where a founding member in Maryland felt the need to leave. Contrast that with your idea and had it been completed early enough then who knows, perhaps both Notre Dame and Penn State would have been attracted to the ACC?

I suppose it could have been worse for the ACC, but the league was pretty close to collapse before they signed their GOR. I see no reason to think Swofford as anything more than a fairly inept example of middle-management. ESPN mostly told him what to do and he didn't do a great job of leading the schools under him.

Both statements above are all wrong. From its founding, the ACC had only two schools that really emphasized football...Clemson and Maryland. Duke had taken football seriously historically, but by the 1950s their focus had shifted to basketball and Olympic sports. Over time, even Maryland transitioned to much more of a basketball-first school (thanks largely to great success by Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams). Basketball preeminence was an addictive drug that gave the ACC the best media rights payouts into the 1990s. The challenge for ACC commissioners for decades has been to focus more support for football.

I understand your point, but by the early 2000s, it was clear the ACC needed a new path. That's exactly what they tried to put together with Miami, VT, and BC(who used to be regarded as a better football product than they are now). With that said, it's obvious Swofford didn't really fix the problem.

His vision came down to an incremental expansion of football prowess rather than capitalizing on the issues within the Big East. In other words, he didn't manage the situation very well.

(06-27-2020 06:18 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  By the time Swofford became commissioner, the ship had sailed on Penn State (it was already in the BIG) and his predecessors had solidified football by adding Georgia Tech and FSU.

I know Penn State was already in the Big Ten, but there are reasons they could have been interested in the ACC had the league played their cards right. Too many of the ACC's decisions were short-sighted.

I'll give you credit for Florida State, especially snatching them away from the SEC's clutches, but Georgia Tech has never been a prime football product even though it's a football first school. They're a good addition to the ACC, but Swofford should have taken the 9 team foundation that had been laid and had his eye set more on the future.

(06-27-2020 06:18 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  “East Coast unity” nor “ESPN told him” where hardly Swofford’s vision nor approach. Swofford had to transform the ACC into a football first conference. I would argue that when Maryland unexpectedly left and Louisville was chosen over UConn, Swofford’s legacy was confirmed.

Swofford’s weakness has been his lack of skill in negotiating for better payouts...basically, leveraging his assets for financial stability. College athletics has become a big business and Swofford was very conservative in adapting to the changing landscape.

Isn't that basically what I said? He was tasked with managing and didn't perform at a high level. The world was changing around him and he didn't know how to handle it.

Sure, ESPN told him what to do. That's basically what the Boston College AD said when they added Syracuse and Pittsburgh. ESPN has had a hand in a lot of decisions the last 20 years or so. They are the ones paying the bills after all so it's not a conspiracy. It's basic business.

Even then, the ACC has been particularly vulnerable to their influence due to weaker ratings AND the fact their markets are so split. With a little more foresight, Swofford or someone else could have realized that they could have increased their leverage by absorbing every decent product in the Big East at one time. That would have provided leverage...it would have also added quite a few decent basketball products at one time. It wasn't necessary to turn every school into a football factory.

Trying to change the culture of multiple schools is a poor plan, it's not going to happen. He just needed to convince a few schools to invest in football more while simultaneously adding some schools with punch.

Now it may be true that Louisville is more of a football first school than Maryland, but the Big Ten is a football first league and people at UMD were happy to be in a conference that focused resources on that sport. Mostly, it was a financial decision for them. In other words, it wasn't a matter of Maryland bucking against any effort to focus on football in the ACC. It was a matter that the ACC had been so poorly managed that it was no longer tenable for them.

And to Louisville, they got in because a few of the football powers threatened to revolt unless it happened. That doesn't come back to Swofford being a good manager...just the opposite.

(06-27-2020 06:18 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  It’s crazy to blame him for not getting Penn State or Notre Dame (he also didn’t get Ohio State nor UGA...but maybe they weren’t in play). It’s naive to suggest that he just followed ESPN’s guidance (the ACC has made horrible TV deals...including propping up Raycom to the detriment of ESPN and financial payouts).

The Raycom deal was straight nepotism. Now, it might be fair to say that wasn't in the best interest of ESPN, but it wasn't in the best interest of the ACC either. Once again, Swofford mismanaged the situation.

I'm not really blaming him for not landing ND or Penn State. What I'm saying is that he made a series of poor decisions over a long period of time that removed the ACC's ability to possibly acquire those schools. Consistently poor TV contracts will keep quality schools from being interested.

Your point about his inability to make quality TV deals simply underscores my point. ESPN makes more money if they pay less for their product. If you have a leader in Swofford who doesn't understand the landscape then your league probably gets taken advantage of by a corporate entity that doesn't interest itself in much of anything more than profit.

This post is absolute 04-bs.

You're getting slow on the trigger, my friend.

I expected you to chime in on that way earlier.

He may be slow, but his response is the same every time.
06-28-2020 01:41 PM
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AllTideUp Offline
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Post: #84
RE: ACC Commissioner John Swofford to retire
(06-28-2020 10:27 AM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  AllTideUp

Great points. My intent was not really meant as a defense of Swofford. As a power conference commissioner, Swofford proved out the Peter Principle of management. He understood tactics (including the importance of football) but never developed a vision nor strategy. His TV contracts have been abysmal; and revenue generation is last (though it could/should be better). He never grew in the job and was not held accountable.

At his best, Swofford deserves a C rating for his tenure. He grew the conference around football. He held the conference together when it could have disintegrated. Faint praise for someone who has led the ACC for 23 years.

Unfortunately, the ACC has a deserved reputation as the country club. UMD (James), UVA (Corrigan) and UNC (Swafford) have alternated the leadership selections. Swofford’s tenure should have ended after 10 years...at most. After 10 years, it’s university presidents that deserve most of the blame for the lack of vision and strategy. Labeling Swafford as “inept” seems too harsh...but I do agree that he was too frequently ill-prepared for his responsibilities and opportunities.

I think a C rating is fair. He could have been worse, could have been better.

"Inept" may be too harsh as you are correct, a truly inept leader would have blown the whole thing up a long time ago. "Inadequate" may be a better word. Hopefully, whoever takes over for the ACC will be a better consensus builder.
06-28-2020 01:45 PM
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RE: ACC Commissioner John Swofford to retire
(06-28-2020 01:31 PM)schmolik Wrote:  Was the ACC's long term contract until 2036/37 a mistake? Sure you're locked into a contract you can't or have limited opportunity to renegotiate (I don't know the exact details of it). But it also protects the conference. Maybe the Pac-12 and/or Big 12 remain intact after their next contracts but if one of them lose members the ACC will be happy they didn't lose anyone. We're assuming the Pac-12 and/or Big 12 will get big raises in their next media deals. Do we know that for a fact? If one or both get shafted, then the ACC also won. Also, Notre Dame football isn't going to any other conference other than the ACC for the length of this deal, that's huge.

Maybe after 2025 we'll look back and say the ACC screwed themselves and they're the 5th P5 because the Big 12 and Pac 12 are intact and swimming in cash. Or we'll look back and say the ACC was lucky to lock themselves in and they're the 3rd P5. What we won't say is they're not a P5 because North Carolina and Virginia are in the Big Ten and Clemson and Florida State are in the SEC which could have happened if their media deals/GOR only lasted until 2025.

The length of the contract could be good or bad...depending on payouts and exposure, relative to your competition. To date, the length of the contract seems highly advantageous to ESPN. It would be better if the ACC shared in a contractual win-win for both parties.

The stability of the ACC was guaranteed via the GOR that the schools (not ESPN) granted. The GOR was essential for the creation of a conference network...it strengthened stability for the joint venture. Not sure why the ACC had to extend T1 and T2 rights through 2036...for the privilege of being the worst paid power conference.
06-28-2020 02:18 PM
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Post: #86
RE: ACC Commissioner John Swofford to retire
(06-28-2020 02:18 PM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  
(06-28-2020 01:31 PM)schmolik Wrote:  Was the ACC's long term contract until 2036/37 a mistake? Sure you're locked into a contract you can't or have limited opportunity to renegotiate (I don't know the exact details of it). But it also protects the conference. Maybe the Pac-12 and/or Big 12 remain intact after their next contracts but if one of them lose members the ACC will be happy they didn't lose anyone. We're assuming the Pac-12 and/or Big 12 will get big raises in their next media deals. Do we know that for a fact? If one or both get shafted, then the ACC also won. Also, Notre Dame football isn't going to any other conference other than the ACC for the length of this deal, that's huge.

Maybe after 2025 we'll look back and say the ACC screwed themselves and they're the 5th P5 because the Big 12 and Pac 12 are intact and swimming in cash. Or we'll look back and say the ACC was lucky to lock themselves in and they're the 3rd P5. What we won't say is they're not a P5 because North Carolina and Virginia are in the Big Ten and Clemson and Florida State are in the SEC which could have happened if their media deals/GOR only lasted until 2025.

The length of the contract could be good or bad...depending on payouts and exposure, relative to your competition. To date, the length of the contract seems highly advantageous to ESPN. It would be better if the ACC shared in a contractual win-win for both parties.

The stability of the ACC was guaranteed via the GOR that the schools (not ESPN) granted. The GOR was essential for the creation of a conference network...it strengthened stability for the joint venture. Not sure why the ACC had to extend T1 and T2 rights through 2036...for the privilege of being the worst paid power conference.

What are the various schools' goals with ACC membership?

They are not the same.

They are not all about money.

They are not all about winning national championships.


The ACC was pulled out of the SC so that MD, Duke, and Clemson could have their way. It's that simple. Their way was about football. They kept VT and West Va by bringing in UVa. So they could keep their way. For close to a decade things were fine until Duke realized they would need black kids to stay competitive in football. That's the nexus of the 800 SAT rule in the ACC, keeping southern black kids out of the ACC, and keeping stupid white kids out of the ACC.

Today, it's far cheaper for UNC, Duke, UVa, GT, WF, and NC State to operate their sports programs in the ACC. Everyone focuses so much on revenue, but forgets the costs. The majority of schools liked cheap football competition. Only Clemson and FSU would rather win than make money in football. I respect that.

Long term deals bind the obvious suspects, but they also bind others who could move for spite. Long term deals that cap revenue, cap the cost of competition somewhat inside the conference.

The current ACC is configured so that UNC, Duke, and UVa have their way. That might change in a year or so.
06-28-2020 03:51 PM
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RE: ACC Commissioner John Swofford to retire
(06-28-2020 03:51 PM)Statefan Wrote:  
(06-28-2020 02:18 PM)Wahoowa84 Wrote:  
(06-28-2020 01:31 PM)schmolik Wrote:  Was the ACC's long term contract until 2036/37 a mistake? Sure you're locked into a contract you can't or have limited opportunity to renegotiate (I don't know the exact details of it). But it also protects the conference. Maybe the Pac-12 and/or Big 12 remain intact after their next contracts but if one of them lose members the ACC will be happy they didn't lose anyone. We're assuming the Pac-12 and/or Big 12 will get big raises in their next media deals. Do we know that for a fact? If one or both get shafted, then the ACC also won. Also, Notre Dame football isn't going to any other conference other than the ACC for the length of this deal, that's huge.

Maybe after 2025 we'll look back and say the ACC screwed themselves and they're the 5th P5 because the Big 12 and Pac 12 are intact and swimming in cash. Or we'll look back and say the ACC was lucky to lock themselves in and they're the 3rd P5. What we won't say is they're not a P5 because North Carolina and Virginia are in the Big Ten and Clemson and Florida State are in the SEC which could have happened if their media deals/GOR only lasted until 2025.

The length of the contract could be good or bad...depending on payouts and exposure, relative to your competition. To date, the length of the contract seems highly advantageous to ESPN. It would be better if the ACC shared in a contractual win-win for both parties.

The stability of the ACC was guaranteed via the GOR that the schools (not ESPN) granted. The GOR was essential for the creation of a conference network...it strengthened stability for the joint venture. Not sure why the ACC had to extend T1 and T2 rights through 2036...for the privilege of being the worst paid power conference.

What are the various schools' goals with ACC membership?

They are not the same.

They are not all about money.

They are not all about winning national championships.


The ACC was pulled out of the SC so that MD, Duke, and Clemson could have their way. It's that simple. Their way was about football. They kept VT and West Va by bringing in UVa. So they could keep their way. For close to a decade things were fine until Duke realized they would need black kids to stay competitive in football. That's the nexus of the 800 SAT rule in the ACC, keeping southern black kids out of the ACC, and keeping stupid white kids out of the ACC.

Today, it's far cheaper for UNC, Duke, UVa, GT, WF, and NC State to operate their sports programs in the ACC. Everyone focuses so much on revenue, but forgets the costs. The majority of schools liked cheap football competition. Only Clemson and FSU would rather win than make money in football. I respect that.

Long term deals bind the obvious suspects, but they also bind others who could move for spite. Long term deals that cap revenue, cap the cost of competition somewhat inside the conference.

The current ACC is configured so that UNC, Duke, and UVa have their way. That might change in a year or so.

Cryptic.

Not to read too much into your statement, but what sort of change would you anticipate?
06-28-2020 11:23 PM
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