I don’t think I will need to convince many Clemson fans that John Swofford belongs on this nightmare committee. This is one that Florida State fans probably agree with too. At this point, I think even North Carolina fans might be on board this one.
Swofford first drew the ire of Tiger Nation when he was the athletic director at UNC. In 1997 he was selected to succeed Gene Corrigan as the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
When he was in charge, it did seem like Swofford was doing all the right things to keep the conference afloat. He poached the Big East before they poached the ACC. He struck a deal with ESPN to create an ACC Network to keep the conference competitive among its peers.
It turns out he sold the conference’s soul to ESPN, and now they have all the schools, including Clemson, by the jewels.
Swofford convinced the constituent schools that a long-term Grant of Rights was the best way to save the conference. He neglected to foresee it was the worst way for the conference to stay competitive because when your television contract is never up for renegotiation, you can’t increase your revenues in any meaningful way.
Now multiple schools are looking into ways to exit the Grant of Rights, and because there isn’t a simple way to do that, it appears that the conference and multiple schools will be legally entangled for years to come.
Swofford didn’t save the conference, he doomed it. At best, he just delayed its demise.
Next: Lou Holtz