Swofford: FSU situation not brought up at meetings
By JOEDY McCREARY
(AP) -- Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said Wednesday that the possibility of Florida State leaving the league was not brought up "in any formal way" during this week's meetings.
In a phone interview from Amelia Island, Fla. - where the meetings were held - Swofford touched on a wide range of topics. He said ACC schools prefer a postseason plan for football that would incorporate the bowls for at least the semifinal stage of a four-team playoff with conference champions meeting "a certain standard within the rankings."
But much of the outside attention lately has focused on Florida State and the rumblings that the Seminoles possibly could leave the ACC for the Big 12.
FSU President Eric Barron sent an email to those asking about the possibility of a conference switch, listing the pros and cons of changing conferences but making a strong case for staying put. Athletic director Randy Spetman recently told the Orlando Sentinel the school was committed to the ACC. Florida State board of trustees chairman Andy Haggard told Warchant.com, a website that covers FSU sports, that the board "would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer."
"Obviously, Florida State's representatives were here, but in terms of it affecting our business, it really didn't," Swofford said. "It was business as usual as we move ahead becoming a 14-team league.
"We've got 12 important members, and we'll soon have 14 important members," he added. "And moving ahead with the implementation that needs to be made, decisions that need to be made, and the start of an excellent new television contract and just the normal, operational kinds of things that we do on an annual basis that aren't really newsworthy (or) sexy, so to speak. ... We just had an excellent meeting in regard to all of that.
"And in terms of Florida State, they are a valuable member, just like our other 11 - and soon our other 13 - are."
Swofford said schools considered options for a four-team playoff model and expressed a "strong preference" for one that would incorporate the bowls for at least the two semifinals - if not also the championship game. He said the schools also would opt for a selection process that gives preference to conference champions.
"They felt that was important as it relates to the regular season and as it relates to the meaningfulness of being a champion in order to play for the national championship," Swofford said. "So there's a preference there for incorporating conference champions into this, as best it could be done. And it may be difficult to make it four conference champions, but the feeling was, look at a hybrid that includes conference champions that meet a certain standard within the rankings. ... Maybe there's an at-large berth open. So we're interested in looking at that type of model first, as well as consideration of a 1-2-3-4 ranking model."
The ACC is set to add Pittsburgh and Syracuse at some point in the future, but it remains unclear exactly when that will happen. Pitt last week filed a lawsuit against the Big East Conference in a Pennsylvania court in an attempt to expedite its exit from that conference and join the ACC for the 2013-14 academic year.
"We're ready to receive them as soon as they can come," Swofford said. "That's between the two schools and the Big East Conference."
When that happens, the ACC will go to a nine-game conference schedule in football. Swofford said that in odd-numbered years, Atlantic Division teams will play five home games with Coastal Division teams playing five at home in even-numbered years.
In basketball, Swofford said all 14 schools will play in both the men's and women's conference tournaments - and they will grow to five-day events starting on Wednesdays and ending on Sundays. The Nos. 11-14 seeds will play that first day, he said.
Updated May 16, 2012