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John Swofford follows Slive’s lead, addresses the bigger issues in college football

Last week, and as we’ve beaten to death several times on this here site, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive began SEC Media Days with a grim, 20-plus-minute speech encompassing key issues in college football.

At first, it sounded more eulogy than proposal.

But Slive’s four-pronged plan to help modernize the sport has followers.

Namely, ACC Commissioner John Swofford.

The ACC’s Media Days began today, and like his SEC counterpart, Swofford addressed pressing issues in college football, including multi-year scholarships, covering the full cost of attendance for student-athletes and NCAA streamlining.

The latter issue, as you can imagine, has hit home for the ACC recently.

North Carolina and Georgia Tech have both been on the receiving end of NCAA investigations over the past year, with the Yellow Jackets asked to pick up the tab for a whopping $100,000 and the Tar Heels facing some potentially stiff sanctions.

“It has to be about programs that win, but also about programs that play by the rules and graduate their players,” Swofford said. “I think winning is really important. But if you have to cheat to win, you really haven’t won at all, have you?”

The alleged violations at Georgia Tech and UNC stem from players -- again, allegedly -- receiving impermissible benefits in some form or fashion. With the NCAA up to their eyebrows in investigations over similar matters, the topic of whether to pay players the full cost of attendance for college -- a $3,000 increase per athlete annually on average -- has found its way at the top of priority list of discussions.

Including Swofford’s.

“I’m not for paying players, per se. I am for maximizing the value [of a full scholarship],” Swofford explained. “I think we as an enterprise in intercollegiate athletics have done a poor job over the years of accentuating value of college ed[ucation].”

And if any institution is concerned as to where they can get the money to cover the full cost of attendance (only Virginia Tech can claim a self-sustaining athletic program without the help of student fees or other subsidies), perhaps the ACC can pull some cash out of this unnecessary fund.

Just a suggestion.

But paying players still won’t prevent future violations, and Swofford reverberated Slive’s appeal that its’ time to streamline the NCAA’s efforts when it comes to enforcement, adding that it was time to focus on the “felonies” of college football rather than the “jaywalking”.

“The challenge is to keep the structure of the NCAA ... trying to find points where we can agree to take steps that are meaningful,” Swofford said. “There are a lot of pluses for football, but there have been at a lot of compliance cases ... We’re at a crossroads.”

(Big thanks to Patrick Stevens of The Washington Times for the quotes. You can follow Patrick on Twitter @D1scourse if that’s your thing)