BOZICH | ACC commissioner John Swofford not dumbfounded by college hoops scandal
By Rick Bozich
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WDRB) — Some coaches grab the microphone and argue that the corrupt world of college basketball exposed during a federal trial in New York City is not the world they know.
They have used bizarre words like that.
They have tried to downplay the toxic nature of the allegations.
Other coaches wonder what those guys are saying — and scheming. They know the way the recruiting game has been played. And they don’t like it. They’re hurt by it. They’re annoyed.
On which side of the bench will you find Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford?
Swofford was asked about the trial and charges Wednesday morning at ACC Operation Basketball at the Spectrum Center. Swofford did not borrow words like “blip,” or “dumbfounded,” from the scouting reports filed by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski or Roy Williams of North Carolina.
“I think anytime you have the letters "FBI" associated with NCAA , in just about any shape or form, in this case basketball, I’m concerned about it,” Swofford said.
"I’m very concerned about it. It’s not a good place for college basketball to be.
"It's not their world (of the coaches who have downplayed the issues). But there's obviously -- and maybe someone described it as -- a conversation I was having, Paul Brazeau in our office and I were talking, and we kind of felt like in a sense that if there's a silver lining in this, it fully exposes a subculture that diminishes college basketball and raises the awareness of it, heightens the sensitivity to it and the need to dig deeper into it, find out what it is and correct it as best as we can correct it.
"And you can change systems, change processes all you want. And you need to. And obviously we are collectively in college basketball doing that maybe in a way that it's never been done before coming out of the Rice Commission. And I think that's really appropriate.
"But what I don't think we're all talking enough about is individual integrity and accountability. You can have the best rules everything and the best system and the best process.
"And if people still don't understand you play by the rules, then it seems to me that's where you have to attack it because ultimately it gets down to individuals making devious decisions, bad decisions, inappropriate decisions, that undermine those that are in the game that do it well and do it the right way and do it with within the rules.
"It's an affront to those people. It's an affront to the system. It's an affront to college basketball. And I think we need to talk about that more. I think we need to attack it more from that perspective.
Swofford also talked about several other items:
Swofford said that he is not concerned that college basketball will suffer because the NBA G-League announced it will open roster spots to selected players who will earn $125,000.
“I think it’s fine,” Swofford said. “I think we’ll have to see from a practical standpoint how it works …
“I don’t think college basketball is going to be hurt by a half-dozen or dozen players who have been with us for one year … I think it’s goal is that it gives young people another avenue."
Starting with the 2019-2020 season, the ACC will follow the Big Ten’s lead by playing 20 conference games, including two by each team in either November or December.
Swofford said one reason for the change was to upgrade the programming inventory for those months as the ACC Network comes on line.
Despite the desires of some coaches who want to park the ACC Tournament in New York City every year, Swofford said the league will continue to rotate the event.
After two seasons at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, the party comes to Charlotte in March before moving to Greensboro, N.C. in 2020 and Washington D.C. in 2021. Brooklyn gets another crack in 2022.
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