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Volume 24 No. 117
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Swofford Says ACC Championship Game's Popularity In Charlotte Is Encouraging

ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a Q&A with the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's David Scott discussed this weekend's ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium and other league issues. Below is an excerpt from their conversation.

Q: What does Charlotte continue to have going for it as a host for the ACC football championship game?
Swofford: Well, the second time around is easier than the first time, and the first time went extremely well. It's very encouraging from Charlotte's standpoint. That kind of consistency -- the look you have with a full stadium and the support from the local community -- is what we're looking for.

Q: What will be the options for the decision?
Swofford: Either move forward with Charlotte or look at other venues around the geographic footprint or you could go to campus, which is what the Pac-12 is doing this year.

Q: Why do you think Charlotte has embraced the game?
Swofford: This state, and Charlotte in particular, has had a long history of supporting the conference and its schools. It's been a living part of the league's history from the very beginning. Consequently, people do "get it" in Charlotte, in terms of the league and that leads to a kind of natural flow of support.

Q: Are you happy with adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse as the league's 13th and 14th schools?
Swofford: Yes, extremely so. We were very thorough in how we evaluated that. We were satisfied with staying at 12, but that began to change this past fall with all the change that started happening. I've never seen a state of instability like that in my 35 years in this business. I think our process went well. We could have gone larger, but we're happy with this.

Q: The NCAA recently passed a "cost-of-attendance" measure, permitting conferences to provide up to $2,000 to athletes on full scholarship. Is that a good idea?
: I think it's the right thing to do. The athletic grant-in-aid hasn't changed since the 1970s and the world has changed dramatically. Is it going to eliminate future NFL or NBA players from taking something from a runner or an agent? I doubt it. But maybe it helps a little with that type of thing.

Q: Will it create a wider gulf between the leagues and schools that can more easily afford to do it?
Swofford: Probably, and I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. One thing about intercollegiate athletics is you've [got] to be careful about knowing who you are athletically and be realistic about it. Not everybody can play at the FBS level, much less win a national championship. There's nothing wrong with that (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/28).