Entering Maryland’s last year in ACC, Commissioner John Swofford says Terps won’t be treated differently

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Maryland football helmet sat there too at ACC football media day, fourth from the left on the draped tables, sparkling and shiny like the rest. One year remains before the Terrapins pack up and bolt for the Big Ten. And once July 1, 2014, rolls around, the logos will be scrubbed, the helmets taken town and the door slammed shut once Maryland sprints through.

It took ACC Commissioner John Swofford more than 30 minutes to utter the word “Maryland” during his Sunday afternoon forum. Asked about the school’s lame duck status, Swofford was perfectly political, offering little room for controversy.

“Well, I think it’s fine,” he said, flanked by the helmets of the ACC’s 14 members after the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. “Maryland has been an excellent member of this league since 1953, and their coaches and athletes in playing their last year in our league deserve the very best of the ACC, and that’s what they will receive. We don’t look at Maryland any differently other than that they’re short-term, and we go from there. But it doesn’t really affect anything else that we do.”

This raised some eyebrows among Maryland fans on Twitter, particularly ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt.

The men’s basketball team received a brutal conference slate for its final season, with road-only games at Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State, which has never happened in history. The last time Maryland didn’t host Duke was in 1947-48. The women, for just the fourth time, also go road-only against Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State.

(Also, since Virginia wasn’t an ACC charter member, only Wake Forest will visit Comcast Center among the original seven.)

Swofford also addressed the conference’s ongoing legal battle with Maryland, which received a stay of decision from Judge John Paul Davey in late June. So far, nothing has been clarified, save Davey’s ruling that the ACC was not violating antitrust laws. Lawsuits are still open in both Maryland and North Carolina, as are pending motions for dismissal.

“Litigation I really am not going to speak to,” Swofford said. “Our lawyers will handle that going forward. From our perspective what little has been done to this point, I would say so far, so good.”

>> Other Swofford comments of note:

On compensating athletes: 

I’m not for paying players. I just don’t think that’s what college athletics is about. But I am for looking very diligently at a way to enhance the scholarship itself, whether that’s need based, whether it’s based on a simple stipend that once existed.

On future homes of the ACC football championship game (Charlotte hosts this season): 

We will decide that sometime around this year’s game. Might be slightly before, might be at that game, it might be slightly after.

On developing an ACC television channel:

I really don’t have much of an update rather than what I told you, which is that we are in the process of evaluating that and analyzing it with ESPN, and that’ll take a while. I mean, I don’t think I’ll be putting out press releases about that process necessarily on any regular basis. Just know that that’s an evaluation that we’re going to be looking at. The SEC by the time they launch, they will have spent I think about three years in evaluating it and figuring it out and concluding that it makes sense for us to try this. I would suspect that our process will take a similar amount of time.

 

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt | July 21, 2013