ACC's Swofford Calls For Reform In College Athletics During ACC Media Days Kickoff
ACC Commissioner John Swofford, saying that college athletics has reached a crossroads, joined the chorus of administrators calling for reform yesterday during his address to the media at ACC Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C. Swofford said he supported a restructuring of the NCAA enforcement process and increasing the value of the grant-in-aid to cover the full cost of education for all student-athletes on scholarship. “We’re at a tipping point right now,” Swofford said. “We’ve got to adjust in a progressive way to the times we live in.” Swofford echoed many of the points made by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive last week. Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe addresses the media later this week, as does the Big Ten’s Jim Delany. They are expected to back up Swofford and Slive. “If we’re going to have any chance to make significant change, it’s critical that the commissioners, the conferences and ultimately the presidents are in lockstep,” Swofford said. “If we’re not, it will be very difficult to move any kind of significant agenda forward.” Swofford said he will call on the schools in the ACC to research the full cost of attendance for scholarship athletes. Some reports have indicated that allotting the “full cost” to athletes would cost schools anywhere from $800,000-1.5M more per year at a time when many athletic department budgets are tight. “I’m inclined to say, conceptually, it’s the right thing to do. … This is coming at a time when television dollars are increasing in many of our conferences.” Swofford noted that the NCAA distributed $53M this past year from the student-athlete assistance fund, money that’s generated from the NCAA’s media contract with Turner and CBS. That assistance money and Pell Grant money would count toward the “full cost” allotment to student-athletes. Because of the discrepancy in scholarship costs from school to school, Swofford said it will probably be necessary to cap the value that’s paid to the athletes.