ACC commissioner John Swofford admitted that there are no answers at this point but stated that coronavirus testing “is going to be critical for us to get back to play” in the fall.
He stated the ACC and the member schools are going into the fall sports season with the “anticipation of playing.” All member schools indicated they plan to be open in some fashion in the fall, he stated.
“Currently, there are more questions than answers,” Swofford said. “The collective we are trying to find the various paths forward that we might take. … Life is often about Plan B. So if plan A doesn’t work, you go to plan B. We are going to have to be ready for a plan C and a plan D. That’s a lot of the work that we’re doing at this point.”
There are four different scenarios financially for the ACC, possibly more, Swofford said. There is the prospect of playing football, playing an abbreviated season, not playing football but playing basketball and not playing any sports.
Swofford spoke with the media via video on Thursday afternoon after the conclusion of the league’s spring meetings, which were held virtually this week instead of at Amelia Island, Fla.
He stated that the “first and last focus” has to be to the health and welfare of players, coaches and support staff. The ACC has established a COVID-19 medical advisory group, which includes some doctors and medical personnel from the league’s schools.
Swofford commented that typically ACC administrators and school athletics administration know that after these meetings they can take a breather, enjoying the conclusion of spring sports and take time off during the summer. But he said this year is very different in that regard and that “time is our friend in a sense” as discussions take place in the coming months.
One question that remains difficult to answer is what if most ACC schools are able to play but one program or a small number aren’t able to take the field. Swofford indicated the schools that could play likely would move forward and compete.
When asked if he could see games take place without students being on campus he seemed to signal that would be left up to the institutions. But he said it “seems foreign to me” when contemplating that scenario. Most ACC schools have indicated that they plan to open this fall, with FSU stating that it will remain closed until Aug. 2.
The loss of revenue from the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments is significant – 66 percent in Swofford’s estimation – but he said the ACC will be distributing “about 98 percent of revenues” to schools. “Given the circumstances we feel pretty good about that,” Swofford said.
Discussions about name, image and likeness as well as the one-time transfer proposal were also prominent during the meetings, Swofford said.