ACC commish: ‘We need to be addressing the felons’
As he’s watched three schools from his conference -- North Carolina, Georgia Tech and now Miami -- come under NCAA scrutiny over the past year or so, ACC commissioner John Swofford is well aware of the issues facing college football. Swofford’s also aware, as he stated last month, that something needs to be done to address the major issues facing the game rather than littering the rulebook with penny-ante minutia that merely serves to bog down an enforcement staff up to its neck in real problems.
Monday, Swofford reiterated that he’s in full agreement with what could be one the end results of an NCAA summit earlier this month: a streamlining of The Association’s bylaws. In effect, Swofford and many, many others would like to see the NCAA’s enforcement focus shifted from the petty larceny of sending impermissible messages to recruits to, well, felons handing out millions and millions of dollars in impermissible benefits (allegedly) down in Coral Gables.
“Over the years what’s happened is, you try to put in a rule that keeps those that would cheat from cheating, and you end up trying to close every little loophole,"Swofford said Monday. “I think we need to be addressing the felons, if you will, as opposed to the jaywalkers, and get ourselves out of this maze of rules that are unenforceable.
“Although well-intended, I’m not sure whether somebody got a text on a day they weren’t supposed to get a text is a huge problem in reality.”
Swofford also stated that the NCAA needs to gain a greater understanding of how the “third-party involvement” of individuals such as agents, their runners and boosters “assist” in the commitment of major violations. The problems at UNC were due in large part to agents/runners, while a rogue booster landed Miami in the mess they’re in now.
As for his own conference’s issues, Swofford labeled it disappointing that a quarter of his league has been under the NCAA’s enforcement microscope for the past 13 months.
“The last thing I want to see in our league are NCAA problems,” Swofford said. “So yes, whether it’s one or two or three, anytime they’re there, it’s disappointing. ...
“When we have any particular school that has a significant NCAA issue, it’s disturbing, and we take it very seriously and expect the institutions to — which they do. Certainly, it’s something that’s not who we are, nor do we want it to become who we are.”