Swofford challenges ACC football to build on FSU, Clemson momentum

ACC to begin push for early football signing period; 8th official added; outdoor track moves to May

ACC Commissioner John Swofford with Clemson University president Jim Clements and Clemson Board of Trustee members before the annual Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon on Friday at the Jungle Island ballroom in Miami

Photo by Mark Crammer

ACC Commissioner John Swofford with Clemson University president Jim Clements and Clemson Board of Trustee members before the annual Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon on Friday at the Jungle Island ballroom in Miami

While the most important issue dealt with at the recent ACC spring meetings was the question of whether to adopt an eight or nine-game football schedule, there were a handful of other noteworthy developments, as well.

On the recruiting front, the ACC is beginning to formally push for an early signing period in the football.

The league will present its proposal to the College Commissioners Association at their next meeting.

ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN that an early signing window "would be a healthy thing for the recruits and the student-athletes in the sense it gives them an opportunity to make their decision, fully commit to it and sign, and then be able to play and study during their senior season without the distractions of the recruiting process.

"If a player knows where he wants to go and is ready to make that commitment, it enhances the situation for that player and for the institutions as well," Swofford added.

Building on Seminole, Tiger momentum: Swofford told the gathering that it's important that having made a national breakthrough last season, it's important that the ACC build on what Florida State and Clemson did in the fall.

“We have a lot of momentum from a league standpoint and specifically a football standpoint,” Swofford said. “It makes a world of difference to win a national championship, but along with that to have Clemson beat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.

"We spent some years not doing well in the BCS and we finished with three straight wins in our BCS games. The national championship was terrific, but that additional win over Ohio State really complements the national championship aspect of it, and having 11 bowl teams.”

Durham gets the nod over Charlotte: The city of Charlotte made a strong push to get a piece of the ACC's baseball tournament contract for the next cycle, pitching its new downtown stadium. Instead, the league opted to award the tournament to Durham for the next four years.

Durham Bulls Athletic Park has a long history with the ACC, and recent renovations and upgrades have again turned it into a premier facility.

Backfield official added: The ACC will follow the lead of the SEC and Big 12 in putting an eighth official on the field this fall. He'll be positioned in the offensive backfield.

TV network in slow motion: Swofford said there are no immediate plans to push for an early debut for an ACC TV network. If the ACC goes in that direction, he said it's still several years away.

Track makes a move: The ACC took action to put its outdoor track season more in line with the national scene in the sport, moving the league championship event from the third week of April to mid-May, just before the NCAA regionals.

The traditional ACC schedule - which was initially based on the academic calendar - has left nearly a month gap for coaches to fill on the schedules, while asking their athletes to peak both early and late in their performances.

The ACC faced the same situation in baseball two decades ago, before moving its tournament from the end of April to the end of May.

Starting next year, the ACC will hold its outdoor track championship in the same timeframe as the SEC and Pac-12, among others.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandkc

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Comments » 1

33dtb writes:

In other words, Duke and UNC need to improve to a point that the refs can put them over the top ????

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