ACC commissioner John Swofford told a Nashville, Tenn. radio station on Wednesday that he was surprised by comments made by TCU athletic director Chris del Conte suggesting that the Big 12 “now has schools like Florida State, Clemson and Miami trying to get in.”
Swofford told The Zone 104.5 it would surprise him if the three schools were considering a move to the Big 12.
“I base that on talking to their presidents and their ADs who have told me that there have been absolutely no contact or conversation with the Big 12,” Swofford said. “The Big 12 commissioner told me the same thing yesterday. So, yes I find those comments…just one more rumor."
Swofford said he would be disappointed if any universities were not being straightforward with him.
“We’ve got a league in which, you know, people sit in a room and talk very forthrightly with each other,” Swofford said. “There’s a lot of respect within the room, there is a lot of trust within the room, and on this particular subject, and by the subject I mean conference affiliation, I think we’ve all learned, or should have over the last two or three years that there are an awful lot of things put out there that have no foundation or basis of truth and often times are irresponsible in being out there in the first place. That is part of the world we live in unfortunately.
“Consequently what I pay attention to, and what we pay attention to in this league are what is said from our presidents and their ADs, and quite honestly I have talked to each of those presidents within the last 48 hours and that’s not at all what I’m hearing from our schools."
Clemson’s Board of Trustees is meeting later today in an informational meeting to discuss conference expansion and realignment.
Board president David Wilkins told OrangeandWhite.com that the meeting is designed to clear up rumors and speculation surrounding Clemson’s future in the ACC.
“We’re getting the board together to share information,” Wilkins said. “There’s no specific proposal we’re going to be addressing. We’re going to let everyone share options for the direction forward and share what information they have…
“With the Internet, blogs and whatnot, information gets out there with no basis and we have to deal with it. There are a lot of rumors that are out there, and you wonder what’s really happening. This is an effort by us to get everyone at one table.”
In his radio interview, Swofford commented on several other topics.
On Syracuse and Pittsburgh joining the ACC: “The timing is between those two schools and the Big East Conference. The important thing is that, number one, they’re coming; and number two, we’re ready for them when they do come; and number three, that hopefully they’ll be here sooner rather than later.”
On further expansion to 16 teams: “We’re settled at 14 at this point. There’s certainly nothing active going on in terms of our looking at 16. We’re not fundamentally opposed to 16 if we felt that made the league better.”
On the recent bowl agreement between the SEC and the Big 12: “Those conferences have every right to act in their conferences’ best interest in terms of that. They had been having discussions for literally years about that possibility, so that wasn’t a great surprise to me…We have had some discussions about trying to put three conferences and three bowls together…you’re always talking about possibilities that are out there.”
On a possible bowl game between the ACC champion and the Big East champion or Notre Dame, if those schools are not involved in the proposed four-team playoff: “We’ve thought about a lot of things, and continue to think about a lot of things. We’re not ready to act on anything at this given moment. But with the potential changes in the BCS, this has been on our radar for a while in terms of what we do next as a conference…that gives us the best possible situation for our champion should it not be in national championship game or semifinal game if one exists. We’re continuing those discussions. Those talks are ongoing.”
On the prospects for an eight-team playoff, with spots guaranteed to the champions of the six major conferences: “Frankly, I just don’t think that’s in the cards right now. The presidents hold the key to that. There are too many conferences and presidents that are just not going to buy into an eight-team playoff. I’m not sure our presidents would buy into that, collectively, either. Whether we get to a four-team playoff, we’ll see. I think we will. But it’s not a done deal at this point in time. I just don’t think there’s anywhere near enough support to get to an eight-team playoff.”