July 1, 2003
PANEL MEMBERS: Dr. Carolyn Callahan, University of Virginia, Faculty Representative; Dr. G. Wayne Clough, Georgia Tech, President; Paul Dee, University of Miami, Director of Athletics; John Rocovich, Virginia Tech, Rector of Board of Visitors; John Swofford, Atlantic Coast Conference, Commissioner; Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech, Director of Athletics; Ron Wellman, Wake Forest University, Athletic Director
BRIAN MORRISON: We will begin the press conference with opening statements from the panel members. Following the opening statements we will then have a question and answer session. I'd like to at this time introduce Dr. Wayne Clough President of Georgia Tech.
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: Thank you, Brian. It's my pleasure to welcome everybody with what we believe is a historic press conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference. I am speaking on behalf of my colleagues. It is a group of the nations most distinguished presidents and chancellors that whom for the past few months have worked long and hard on behalf of the welfare of our great conference.
The issue of expansion of our conference has obviously recently been the subject of considerable press coverage but this topic has been on our agenda for all of our meetings for many years every since I have been here, which is nine years. Expansion is a topic we don't take lightly because of the many ramifications it has for our student athletes, our alumni, our boards of trustees, friends and publics.
We believe the ACC is a very special conference where student athletes have the opportunity to excel at the highest level both in athletics and as students. We put the welfare of our student athletes at the top of our list of concerns in all of our discussions. We also value the common heritage of all of our member institutions as being among the nations' top research universities. For 50 years the ACC has been committed to the best of collegiate sports and we believe our record speaks to this ethic.
Over time our conference has expanded as the appropriate circumstances presented themselves. The possibility of further expansion of our conference has been a natural and ongoing topic of discussion because of rapid changes in the national picture for intercollegiate athletics and contacts that are made from time to time with us by other universities about their interest in possibly being members of the ACC.
The Council of Presidents and the Commissioner are charged with maintaining the strength of our conference for the present as well as for the generations that will follow. This calls for us to consider from time to time the potential of expansion and the optimum size of the membership of the conference.
Our process in deciding issues related to expansion is deliberative and governed by our bylaws. Some would call it the process too slow. But it does allow for careful consideration of all points of view and many of these when you have to consider all of the constituencies and the points of view that we must represent as presidents.
In regards to this particular stage of ACC expansion we developed a set of guiding principles, what we call upon, to help us make our decisions. It considered matters such as student welfare, financial stability, similarity of institutional cultures, academic compatibility and future opportunities.
In the end our process produced what is a logical and positive result. And we're here today to formally welcome two knew members to the Atlantic Coast Conference. They have indicated their willingness to join with us in making a great conference and even better one and they bring very considerable strengths in all aspects of intercollegiate athletics. We also satisfied that they have nationally recognized university profile and institutional cultures that fit with the existing membership of the ACC.
Even though in the past we have not shared membership in athletics conference with either of these two schools, we haven't placed multiple interactions on the playing fields as well as through research and student learning activities that we believe makes the prospect for expansion with these universities very positive.
We expect all of these to be reinforced now that these institutions are joining us in the ACC. to Virginia Tech and all of our colleagues there at this fine institution we're pleased to welcome you to the ACC. It's been a long time coming. We look forward to the strengths of Virginia Tech will forward us by a strong national and international reputation.
Maybe we'll get to finish that game John, one of these days that was stopped because a little lightning storm some day in the near future.
To the University of Miami and our colleagues there, President Shalala, we're pleased to welcome you to the ACC. Extending the geographic footprint of the ACC to the south Florida and using your distinguished representation will enhance our impact as a conference nationally as well as globally. Working with these outstanding new members, both through shared academic and athletics agendas, we believe the best days of the ACC lie ahead.
Now it's my pleasure to turn the podium over to our Commissioner, John Swofford. But in doing so, I want to state in the strongest terms on behalf of all of my colleagues on the Council of Presidents how much we appreciate his diligence, patience, and hard work in helping us reach the conclusion on conference expansion.
JOHN SWOFFORD: Thank you, President Clough. Obviously we have been through a very thorough analysis of our future as a conference and I believe that with the decision of our Council of Presidents we have landed at a superb place. This exercise has been about positioning our conference for the future, to ensure that the best opportunity exists for our member schools to continue to reach their full potential athletically as individual institutions as well as to continue to reach our full potential collectively as a conference.
With the addition of the University of Miami and Virginia Tech, that most definitely has been accomplished.
Both Miami and Virginia Tech are institutionally academically, athletically and geographically compatible with our nine current members. In short, they both fit. This is the ACC's fourth expansion. The ACC started very quickly with expansion when Virginia was asked into the League about six months after the League was formed. Followed by Georgia Tech in 1978 and most recently of course, with Florida State in 1991 each extension of the Atlantic Coast Conference benefited the League, it's student athletes, and it's fans. I have no doubt that this expansion and extension will do the same.
The ACC is stronger today than yesterday and may well be at its strongest point in its history. We're also much better equipped as a conference to meet the challenge of tomorrow in a successful way. Some would like the world to always stay as it is and I understand that. Sometimes I would like that as well.
But it seldom, if ever, does in athletics, or in any other part of life, our conference from our strategic planning committee to our athletics directors and faculty representatives, and on through the Council of Presidents, came to the conclusion that our best path in a changing landscape was to grow. And I believe that a superb decision was reached to invite Miami and Virginia Tech to join us.
We're thrilled that Dr. Shalala and Paul Dee at the University of Miami that Dr. Steger and Jim Weaver and John Rocovich at Virginia Tech have chosen to accept our invitation to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. I think that this will truly enhance all of us and we're here tonight to celebrate Virginia Tech and the University of Miami becoming an integral part of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
We look forward to having you as colleagues and having you as a part of what we consider to be a very special family. And Jim and Paul, if you will stand up a minute I have got something to give to the two of you.
The one thing I think I figured out too if you look at our seal over there, President Clough, this really didn't come up in the discussion, but maybe one reason we ended up where we did and landing where we landed which I think is a terrific place to be for the future of our League, is that we couldn't figure out how to do a different seal and we could keep the same seal and simply add two stars in various places within the footprint and keep it that way.
But certainly the fact that you are already here, you are a part of the geographic footprint of the League and fit in every other way, I think makes this a very special occasion and certainly as I said earlier the right fit for Miami, for Virginia Tech and for the Atlantic Coast Conference. I think we got the right colors here, ACC and Miami and ACC hat.
I have got to tell you when Paul and President Shalala called me Monday morning about 10:30, the first comment was ready or not here we come (laughter). And that was a good sign, I thought. And the second comment was President Shalala saying John, I don't know if you could imagine this but Paul is actually jumping up and down. (Laughter).
PAUL DEE: He's given an overstatement. (Laughter).
JOHN SWOFFORD: I have yet to be able to imagine that. Welcome, we're looking forward to working with you. I am giving this to you on behalf of the nine Athletic Directors that will be your colleague in the ACC and we're thrilled to death that you will be with us.
PAUL DEE: Thank you very much (applause).
JOHN SWOFFORD: Jim, you could probably jump higher than Paul. But for many years a number of people have felt that Virginia Tech was a natural fit in the Atlantic Coast Conference and I am just glad and our League is just thrilled that that time has finally come. We welcome you and look forward to working with you.
JIM WEAVER: Thank you very much. (Applause).
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: Thank you, John. I'd like to call on Ron Wellman the Athletic Director of Wake Forest University.
RON WELLMAN: Thank you, President Clough. Paul told me a little bit ago that he will demonstrate his 43 inch vertical leap immediately after this and that has been part of the one on one interviews so you will all want to be a part of that I am sure. So Paul, we look forward to that.
Tonight we welcome two outstanding institutions, to the ACC Virginia Tech and Miami we're thrilled to have them as a part of our conference. They have a strong leadership, they have outstanding programs and they are literally a perfect fit for the ACC.
As you well know and have documented daily in the media this has been a long twisting unpredictable and oftentimes frustrating path to this wonderful conclusion. I want to tell you that we would not be here tonight if it weren't for the strength of the leadership in the ACC office. John Swofford and his staff did a superb job of ushering this process from the beginning to the very end. They have demonstrated strength, sensitivity, diplomacy, determination throughout the process, and all of the faculty, Athletic Directors and Athletic Directors and Presidents of the ACC are grateful for what they did.
Anyone can hold the helm at sea when the waters are calm. Rarely are the waters calm during this process; yet our Commissioner forged ahead and weathered all of the storms. As a result tonight the ACC is stronger than it was a few days ago.
We welcome Virginia Tech and Miami to our group. We look forward to working with them very, very closely in the future, and we thank John and his staff for the superb leadership that they have demonstrated over the last some people say two months, I say two years. Thank you very much. (Applause).
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: I'd like to introduce Dr Carolyn Callahan of the University of Virginia.
DR. CAROLYN CALLAHAN: I want you to know that I warned everybody that it was very dangerous to let a faculty member get behind a lectern since we only speak in one hour segments been trained that way. I just saw some of you look at your watches. What I want to say is that I see the ACC now having reached a point after many months of deliberations and possibly walking along what appeared to be a very meandering path to a point where we're positioned to have great opportunity in the future.
Our journeys lead us to a point where we're welcoming two great new partners into our League with eager anticipation of a great future. Our job now is to make sure we take advantage of the opportunities that are afforded by the new Alliance. So we recognize we must begin the hard work of integrating our two new partners into a League that has pride in its academics and it's athletics, both in its high profile sports and in its Olympic sports but we look forward to that task with excitement and high expectations because we see so many opportunities to build on the academics and athletics relationships that many of us already have with Virginia Tech and to extend academic invitations and athletics competitions to the University of Miami.
Now also comes a time, I think, when we have to move beyond considering the position of the ACC in the athletics world beyond the academy and athletics reputations of the institutions, beyond the opportunities offered to the coaches and the ADs in the conference to considering the most important people of all and that's our student athletes and their welfare.
The real success of this merger will be the extent to which we can use our abilities to create a League where the student athlete experience is maximized in the classroom and on the fields and in the courts. The ACC and its member institutions old and new are after all, about both quality educational programs, and opportunities for creating the most competitive athletics environments that we can.
We're looking out for our students, our student athletes, and their welfare; that's the most critical part of this League. Our charge now is to work toward ensuring that the ACC continues to be a League based on academy excellence, mutual respect, and sportsmanship as they coexist with keen athletic competition. (Applause)
JOHN ROCOVICH: Virginia Tech is pleased to received an invitation for membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It confirms that the ACC and its member schools hold our athletics program and our university in high regard. We share historic cultural and geographical ties with those universities. We have academic partnerships with many of them. With the strength of our athletics program and our status as a leading research university, we believe we're a great fit for the ACC.
To illustrate several of those partnerships, the university in Virginia Tech operate the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech operate together for off campus graduate centers within the state and the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech are also partners with Corillean (phonetic) health systems in the unique Corillean biomedical institute. Wake Forest University and Virginia Tech began in 2001 a joint school of biomedical engineering offering joint degrees.
Maryland, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, UVA and Virginia Tech are partners in running the NASA National Institute of Aerospace. Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, among others, are partners in the National Lightrail (phonetic) project, an effort to link super high speed computers at major southern research universities. Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Virginia and Virginia Tech are university partners with the University of Tennessee at the U.S. department of Energy, Oakridge National laboratory.
The University of Maryland and Virginia Tech have jointly operated a regional college of veterinary medicine now for over 25 years on both campuses. So you can see we have many long term partnerships with ACC schools in the academic realm.
Our board of visitors discussed Virginia Tech's membership at a special meeting last Wednesday. I can tell you that our board of visitors is unequivocal and unanimous in its strong support for our move to the conference. We hardly accept this invitation. We're deeply grateful to John, the President of the University of Virginia who has worked tirelessly for us seeking the best outcome for Virginia Tech.
We acknowledge the many efforts of governor Mark Warner to seek resolution to the conflict and to seek an optimal situation for the two conferences and for Virginia Tech. We thank Attorney General Gerry Kilgore for his efforts. We also thank the ACC Commissioner John Swofford for bringing this opportunity to closure and for his visions, seeing the future of intercollegiate athletics and we thank our numerous supporters.
Let me address a point that I know the media would like me to discuss, the decision by the Atlantic Coast Conference to expand by adding teams from the BIG EAST conference has been stressful for all the schools involved. My university has been in an especially difficult and problematic spot. In a rapidly evolving situation where circumstances change, sometimes even by the hour, it is only possible to make decisions based on what is known at a particular moment.
Although circumstances have been changed, our mission has remained constant. To act in the best interest of our university where I have the privilege to serve as rector of the Board of Visitors.
Given the inevitability of the ACC expansion our geographic proximity, our historic and cultural affinities as we will as current academic partnerships with many of these schools, it is clear that the affiliation with the ACC is in the best long term interest and is the best fit for Virginia Tech and our extended university community.
As a backdrop to the current situation it's useful to note that people in this region have floated ideas across many decades about our reaffiliation with the ACC schools. Many of the current ACC schools comprised along with Virginia Tech the original Southern Conference in the first part of the 20th century an affiliation we shared for 30 years. More than half of our alumni live in Virginia or the Carolinas, the heart of traditional ACC country. We share similar academic profiles with many of these schools.
The sports framework for the extended Virginia Tech family includes the ACC, of all the BIG EAST schools considered by the ACC, only Virginia Tech shares this similarity, history, and proximity.
Regardless of what others may say, or the many unsolicited recommendations we have received, we have acted to position Virginia Tech for the future and this future is the very best future that we could have. The ACC has extended an offer of admission to the conference. It is clearly in the best long term interest of our institution.
As a public university, Virginia Tech is responsible to multiple constituencies, but first and foremost our obligation is to our students. Although I am concerned about the impact on other institutions, we must take the best long term approach for the future of our institution.
In summary let me restate how pleased and indeed delighted we are with this move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. I have tremendous respect for the faculty, students, and administrators at all of the ACC schools. Some of the nations best universities share this affiliation.
It is very happy day for Virginia Tech. We have a strong fan base, we have an excellent sports venue, we have talented student athletes and coaches and a record of athletic success. The hokey nation is proud today. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Thank you. (Applause).
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: Thank you, John, after this you can explain to all the rest of the ACC schools what a hokey is, okay. Now I'd like to introduce Jim Weaver Director of Athletics of Virginia Tech.
JIM WEAVER: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be here this evening. I regret that president Steger had plane problems and weather problems in Atlanta for this should be his evening as the leader of our university.
We're very pleased and very proud about the opportunity to join the Atlantic Coast Conference and I must tell you that and it is well documented that President Steger and Menis Ridenour (phonetic) and I made a visit there. I think it was about a 40 minute visit with John on the 6th of May, and when I looked at the pictures of the past commissioners and saw that the first commissioner was Jim Weaver, and then I saw that the third commissioner was Bob James, who went to high school with my mother and father, I knew things would turn out well at the end of the process.
ACC affiliation is though Virginia Tech has finally come home since as John Rocovich alluded to in his remarks we have had so many prior relationships with the institutions in the ACC. Our constituency is very excited about this special moment and I am so proud for them this evening. In addition, I am proud for our university to be associated with such outstanding academic institutions as the members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
This is also, ladies and gentlemen, a wonderful challenge for our coaches and for our student athletes at Virginia Tech and for them, I am excited. We'll do our very best to be a first class representative and member in all aspects of our athletics department. Our goal is to continue to develop a broad based athletics program inclusive of all 21 sports and our affiliation as a new member of the Atlantic Coast Conference will help that goal become reality. Thank you. (Applause).
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: Let me ask our master high jumper Mr. Paul Dee to come forward. I would also like to mention for some of you who may not know it most of the schools in the southern portion of the ACC, Georgia Tech included, play regular sports schedules with Miami and we have a long standing baseball connection, tennis, all of our sports play regularly with Miami, so this bringing Miami in will actually make it easier to get some of these things done. Paul.
PAUL DEE: It's terrific to be in such a wonderful new group of people. I have a whole new constituency that will laugh at my jokes. But on behalf of President Shalala, who tonight was unable to be with us, she sends her thanks and her regrets. Her regrets at not being able to be with us this evening and her thanks for the tremendous invitation and the tremendous opportunity that has been provided to the University of Miami to become a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Many years ago when Florida State came in to the conference maybe not that many years ago but the University of Miami was an independent (inaudible) Florida State as well. We went different ways. We had the benefit have coming to this conference and we have seen all of the things that it meant to them and to their fine university and all of them were not lost on us as we watched them grow into a tremendous university through this conference. They are our friends. We look forward to the friendships of all of the other schools in this conference.
As well, the friendship of Virginia Tech, having gone from very beginnings in 1990 to create a conference out of basically nothing, eight athletic directors getting together in Providence, Rhode Island and saying we can play football and we can play with the best of them, we can play at the highest levels. And we did. And it was the people like Virginia Tech and the other schools of the BIG EAST.
In coming here tonight, is bitter sweet for me and for the University of Miami because we really do wish to accept this invitation in the way that it is intended and the way it is meant but we also leave behind great friends and great universities in the BIG EAST conference that we hope we'll continue to compete with and to be friends with as we move forward.
I want to thank the presidents of the Atlantic Coast Conference for their efforts and for their invitation; for the administration for working this through for as long as it took to stay there and keep a steady hands on the teller and John, you did just a tremendous job and we're very, very appreciative of that. To the Athletics Administrators, particularly the Athletic Directors, another call that offered advice, counsel, and other things left on my answering machine. (Laughter) I really appreciated those as well most often filled with humor but certainly a warm invitation to join this conference.
Our faculty are, to a person, pleased and thrilled to becoming into the Atlantic Coast Conference, to be affiliated with and to be part of this great conference of not only athletics but of academics. I have several coaches who aren't quite as pleased, but they look forward to that in many ways.
It was very interesting the other day we started counting and about nine of our coaches have in one way or the other been affiliated with the Atlantic Coast Conference, particularly Jim Morris and Perry Clark. Jim was the head baseball coach at Georgia Tech. Perry Clark was assistant basketball coach at Georgia Tech.
Our assistant rowing coaches were from Duke. Head men's tennis coach was from Duke. Women's soccer coach and volleyball coach both from the University of Maryland. So we have an understanding and they have an understanding of what it takes to compete in this League and to a person, every single one of them was highly supportive of the university's move even though it meant that they would have to improve that they would have to work harder; that they would have to recruit harder. They really believed in what this League meant.
It meant to them as students and as coaches and soon will mean to our students and the rest of our coaches. Again we're extremely pleased to be here. We're looking forward to the relationships that we'll build and the ones that we have, we're looking forward to extend. We want to thank all of you for this great invitation and for this great opportunity. Thank you (applause).
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: It's been an interesting journey to get to this point. We're very proud to have arrived at this station with our great new colleagues. Regards to Donna Shalala and Charlie Steger. We want to see them soon at our next ACC Presidents meeting.
BRIAN MORRISON: Thank you. We'll go ahead and open it to questions.
QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION
Q: Over the past 50 years the ACC has developed great rivalries in all sports and especially in the triangle. What steps will be taken to ensure that these rivalries continue while building new rivalries at the same time?
JOHN SWOFFORD: Well, that will be a fundamental aspect of our scheduling policy is once we have the input of our Athletic Directors and all of these Athletic Directors, the 11, in our discussions from a staff's standpoint and in all the different scenarios that had been run and discussed with the Athletic Directors, one common thread through all of that is a desire to maintain those special rivalries that do exist throughout the conference and certainly that will be a fundamental aspect of our scheduling policy.
Right now with 11, you don't necessarily have to reinvent the wheel because the Big 10 has been operating quite effectively as 11 since Penn State joined that conference. But what we need to do is probably take a look at the Big 10 model as a jumping off place in terms of our scheduling policies with an 11 member conference and then see if we need to change or tweak that to meet the desires that other institutions have.
One thing you want to do is to keep this as the best you can for the athletes, the best you can for the fans, and those kinds of natural rivalries are huge a huge plus, for the fans, for the athletes, they are a huge plus in our television negotiations as well. So there's every reason in the world to maintain those as best you possibly can.
Q: Jim, on May 16 the League decided to pursue three other schools. At that time did you think you guys were out of the running and describe your emotions the night, I assume Dr. Steger called and said you guys were in. How did you feel?
JIM WEAVER: How about if I answer the second part first and tell you I was elated when he called me, I guess it was Tuesday night or Wednesday night a week ago, the days have run together so I can't remember exactly which day it was. On May 16 which I think was the day that they the ACC indicated the three schools that they were going to have dialogue with and we were not one of those three, the question was did I think we would get to this point? The answer is at that point the honest answer is no.
Q: Mr. Dee, when we all left Ponte Vedre on May 20 what would you say the percentage was that you'd end up in a conference whether it be this one or the BIG EAST with Virginia Tech?
PAUL DEE: At that time it was very interesting meetings that we had just concluded. There were different sides that had expressed themselves. At that time as we were leaving was when I believe it became clear that there would be three schools that would go a little further in the process.
I don't know that we ever thought about it in the sense of with or without Virginia Tech because there was the prospect that at that time or at least early on that there could be a conference of 13 and that that might be a possibility. Virginia Tech has been just an outstanding member of the conference that we have been in for the last thirteen years.
All of the relationships that we have had including sharing National Championship games in our League and losing some football games have all been at Virginia Tech so they have been great friends of ours. Whether we thought about it or didn't, at that particular time it worked out very well.
Q: Commissioner, you have said you are very pleased with the outcome of this process in terms of where the presidents ended up. Procedurally if you had to do this over again and maybe next year you will have to do it over again, are there some things that you would do differently?
JOHN SWOFFORD: I think so. I think any time you go through a procedure of this nature that you don't go through very often that you I think you'd be foolish not to look back on it and see what you could learn from it and what could be adjusted and tweaked and changed for the betterment of the process. I don't think there's any question about that and we'll do that. I think you should do that even if you felt completely comfortable with the procedure you should do that.
Q: Could you share with us one or two thoughts that you had specifically what you might do differently and could you enlighten us on what it's like to be on a conference call with this many people for this long?
JOHN SWOFFORD: (Laughs). Well, since you mentioned conference calls I think and I think that President Clough will probably want to speak to this too and I don't want to spend a whole lot of time talking about process because tonight is about the new members that are coming into the League, but there are two aspects of it that I would suggest that Jim and I have talked about this already a little bit is that one, you probably need more in face meetings and fewer conference calls because I think the dynamics of being in the room with people is simply healthier for decision making than conference calls.
As hard as that might be with people that are as busy as presidents and travel as much as presidents and chancellors do. The other, quite frankly, is a process that puts us on a campus with an invitation not to follow, you know, I don't think that that part of the process very candidly didn't treat a couple of schools fairly in my estimation and didn't treat our own League fairly in my estimation.
I think we need to look at that very candidly. Both are easily fixed, easily addressed. And I think we'll probably take a look at our bylaws which I think are fundamentally sound, but the world is probably very different today in terms of the information age and the fluidity of it and the fluidity of our decisions are made and change than when those bylaws were written in terms of expansion. So I think we'll take a fresh look at that as well.
But the point I would emphasize is in the end, I think we have ended up with a superb decision for the future of the Atlantic Coast Conference in two terrific institutions joining us that fit in every way.
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: If I could change anything it would be that we would schedule conference calls instead of scheduling conference calls that are supposed to last an hour that end up lasting three hours, I'd really like to see them scheduled for three hours and only last an hour.
I think everybody needs to understand that as we went through this the process that we had to go through by the bylaws, that each of us had to answer to a lot of constituencies and while, in some peoples' mind, I would get emails from people saying, please, make up your mind but I was representing student athletes, alumni, boards that I have to answer to, and other constituencies, so each time we had a discussion it required a discussion with other constituencies and that just took a while. We would like to have shortened it and any time when we do this again certainly we'll look for a more efficient process in getting the decision making done.
Q: Commissioner, just wanted to ask if you could go over a little bit of your plan for the format for the League. You mentioned using the Big 10 as a model if it's 11. Can you talk about if you are allowed to have a Championship game eventually with 11, whether you divide into divisions at that point and if you could just discuss some of those scenarios.
JOHN SWOFFORD: Well, right now our anticipation is that we'll be operating as an 11 team League without divisions and we start there. We had made a decision as a League that had we gone to 12 we would not have divisions in basketball. But we would in football. And in most of our Olympic sports there would be no need to have divisions as there will be no need to have divisions in the Olympic sports with 11.
We'll need to talk about the men's and women's basketball tournament formats. We want the input of our schools and the coaches and so forth before making that decision. It's really their decision to make, but that's not particularly complicated, quite frankly. I mean, there's an obvious format that probably we'll go with that will work that will, in all likelihood, add two games on Thursday to the one that we already have so there are three games on Thursday; then you are right back on Friday to the same format for the tournament.
If the NCAA changes its rule in terms of the football Championship game and reduces the number from 12 to 10, for instance, then we're going to have a conference call with all of you media representatives and ask you to vote on how to divide 11 teams into two equal and comparable divisions with one with 6 and one with 5 (laughter). That will be the trickiest part, you know, if we end up with that situation. I am sure it's doable. I don't have the answer tonight as to how it's doable, but that will be a challenge we'll meet one way or another.
Q: Dr. Clough, my understanding, correct me if I am wrong, you are on the Board of Directors of the 18 person group that will make the determination whether to change the bylaw that allows 10 or 11 can you talk about that, would you be, I mean, what do you think the chances of that happening are and the process?
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: Clearly I would be supportive of it. As you mentioned, there are 18 votes there that have to be swung the way the NCAA legislated process works, first step is you have to go to the management counsel, Jack Evans is here from the University of North Carolina, represents the ACC on a management council. Those folks process and develop the legislation which works its way up to the Board of Directors.
I would think that given our discussions and our expansion of our conference a lot of people will be interested in revising this rule. One of the challenges is of the 18 schools that are there a relatively small number of them are Division 1 A they are Division 1s but not Division 1 As. So I think the temperature has to be taken of those schools as much as those who represent the Division 1 A conferences. And I don't know at this point what their feelings would be. Certainly the ACC is going to go forward with a recommendation that we attempt to do this.
Q: While I understand this is a night of celebration to welcome two new members, there has been a lot of talk about the perception of the ACC the way things have been handled, the way things have gone down throughout this whole process. Fence mending has been a phrase that has been thrown about and a lot. What steps would you want to take at this point to repair that reputation and also if someone could identify the members of the Council of Presidents that are here tonight.
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: I don't know that fence mending is quite the right term. Certainly the ACC Council of Presidents and I am sure the AD and the faculty reps are like a family and in any family you are not going to agree on everything at any given time, but we have a history of once we decide to do something we all band together and go forward.
We have a great record of collegiality on the Council of Presidents. It's been something I have just been thrilled about in my service with the ACC representing Georgia Tech. We'll do the same thing here. We're going to all band together because we have two new members, we want to bring in our family and develop that strong rapport that we have had for a long time.
I think the conference needs to continue to work to say the things that are the right things about this conference. We still stand for what we believe is the best in college athletics. That hasn't changed. We may not have pulled this off in the best way possible and we're willing to admit that we had a less than perfect process, but at the same time, the outcome is a great outcome. And the conference hasn't changed.
Are other members of the Council of Presidents? I think I may be the only one here tonight.
Q: Dr. Shalala talked about maybe going to 12 teams at some point; that there was some assurance. Could you explain what that assurance is and what a timetable would be?
JOHN SWOFFORD: Well, I don't know that and Wayne may want to respond to that too. I think right now we are where we are which is at 11. I think that a number of our schools, a number of our presidents are very interested at some given point in looking at 12. There's no particular timetable for that.
I don't think any absolute guarantee that it will happen, but there's certainly a certain interest level with the number of our schools in continuing to look at that if there should be an opportunity that our presidents ultimately feel is the right fit.
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: Well, just first of all, there have been no conference calls scheduled on this subject I can guarantee you. We're going to take a rest.
But we obviously looked very hard at the possibility of going to 12 and I think there's a sentiment to do that, there's a certain logic to it. But we're not in any rush at this point. We think we have got two great new members and we need a little time to bring them into the fold and get going with our two new members before we jump to any other conclusions.
Q: Commissioner, if the legislation doesn't change and it stays with 11 and you don't have a Conference Championship, how do you plan to raise the revenues to allow all the 11 schools to get to reep the kind of financial rewards that the nine schools were receiving in the ACC?
JOHN SWOFFORD: Well, we think that it is workable and doable. The biggest challenge is really in the early years of this and this is a decision on the part of the conference as well as on the part of Miami and Virginia Tech, I am sure, that's for the long haul, and positions, this group of schools and this conference in a manner that gives it the greatest stability for the future in every respect. I think that it would be fair to say that many in our conference throughout this evaluation felt that there may well have been greater risk in staying at nine than going to 10 or 11 or 12.
Q: President Clough, can you tell me did you presidents vote on these two schools as a group or one each and what was the tally?
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: I don't want to get into the vote breakdowns, but we made a decisions on Miami and Virginia Tech independently. We felt that we wanted both of them to come, but if one should not decide then certainly we hoped the other one would come. In other words, they were treated as individuals. Although we thought it was a great package we saw these institutions as separate institutions with great individual strengths and we wanted to treat them with that respect.
Q: Commissioner, what was the vote tally of these two schools?
JOHN SWOFFORD: I can't give you the vote tally but it had to be obviously there had to be at least 7 affirmative votes.
Q: Commissioner, now that Miami and Virginia Tech are in the League and a lot has been said about renegotiating the television contract for football, how much leverage do you expect to take to the negotiating table with them on board?
JOHN SWOFFORD: I think it is considerable. A lot of things go into contract negotiations, some of which you have no control over such as the timing and the state of the economy and the state of the marketplace when you go there. And that could be a considerable difference from you know, during a 6 to 12 month period.
Sometimes you hit that very, very well, and we have done that in the past, and other times you don't hit it as well. So those are the uncontrollables, but in terms of the football television contract, first thing that we'll do is sit down and talk with our current partners at Jefferson Pilot, ESPN and ABC to talk about renegotiating the last two years of the current contract. After that when Virginia Tech and Miami are in for the third year and obviously the negotiations will take place prior to that point in time, but that becomes a jumping off place because that's a new contract from there forward.
We're bringing in two schools that bring a lot across the board in this area and in all areas, but specific to football, it's two perennial national caliber football programs, both of whom have a superb history of television ratings and they bring that to the table which is most definitely leverage and they bring tremendous added inventory, if you will, in terms of the games that can be selected within our conferences as well as some non conference games to potential bidders for the football television contract as well. So I think we have been helped significantly in that particular regard with the addition of these two programs.
I think in terms of football while we're on it, I think we have also been strengthened significantly in terms of whatever happens in post season football, you know, whether that's a continuation of the BCS or something similar to it, or even if the BCS went away and we were back to conferences having their own Tie ins with Bowl games, you know, I think we're in excellent shape in that regard.
So from a competitive standpoint, I think when you look at Olympic sports across the board, and then when you look at women's basketball, when you look at men's basketball, and the tremendous history and tradition that's here in the Atlantic Coast Conference and then you look at the football programs that now make up the ACC, it's exciting, I think. I think it's exciting for our athletes, exciting for our fans. Because there's an awful lot of balance there you know, and maybe at some schools, with this sport and other schools with this sport and some with, you know, with both right now, but the strength of those programs in the ACC at this point in time with the addition of these two schools is tremendous.
Q: What again is the entry fee for the schools and has any sort of payment schedule been set up?
JOHN SWOFFORD: It's a $2 million entry fee and that's tied very consistently to what Virginia Tech and Florida State paid when they came into the League not the dollars themselves, but it's tied to the assets of the conference at that time and payment schedule is something that we're talking about right now. And is something we want you know, that's just about negotiating that out and making it work for our current institutions as well as the two institutions coming in.
Q: Dr. Clough, just wondering what might drive the push for 12 team what factor or factors?
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: Well, I think again, going back through our deliberations we talked a lot about it. We talked about 13 and 14, and it has to work financially and it has to work in terms of the characteristics that we look for in an institution and those we believe are embodied in the two institutions that are here today.
So I would think first of all, it would have to be the right institutions, somebody who brought characteristics that we would be very much looking for and has to financially work, and we certainly want to give consideration to the student welfare issues and how far one has to travel to get your playing done, things like that, it would be a series of factors that would go into it. But as I said we're not in a particular rush at this point in time. But at the same time we have had ample discussion that would say that there's a real strong sentiment to go to 12 at some point, but we're not in a rush.
Q: With the two schools joining the League in 2004 would each of you describe the process you will be going through retooling your football schedule and how soon do you see your schools having enough games to compete for the Championship?
JIM WEAVER: Quite honestly I think it's going to be easier for Paul and I to retool our schedules than it will be for some of the current member institutions simply because we had a series scheduled with North Carolina and NC State over the next four years, we began at Carolina in 04, 05 and 06 were State and 07 we concluded at home with Carolina and also Virginia, which was a non conference game will now be a conference contest for us.
From our perspective next year we have LSU on the road, Western Michigan at home and we would anticipate maintaining the relationship that we have had which has been a long standing one is West Virginia, so in theory the Virginia and West Virginia games having gone from a non conference for Virginia and conference for West Virginia would flip flop.
PAUL DEE: Back when we were an independent in 1990, 1991 and we decided to go to into the BIG EAST conference we had to reschedule 72 games over a 10 year period. This one I don't think will be very difficult at all because we'll simply substitute the 7 teams that we haven't been playing regularly, of course we played Florida State and that would be the 8th conference game, and substitute the other 7 for the 7 other games we played in the BIG EAST and then we would continue as we have to play non conference schedule and this years non conference schedule is Florida State, Florida and Tennessee, so be interesting down the road we play kids like to play games elsewhere; that's why we came into the League; that's why we're going to continue to play.
Q: You think maybe by 2004 each of you will be able to play 8 games against ACC schools?
JIM WEAVER: Yes.
PAUL DEE: Yes.
Q: Commissioner, can you talk about your level of apprehension this weekend waiting for the Miami vote after it was delayed, the latter part of last week and Paul, can you talk a little bit about the balancing act that you had to go through President Shalala I think said yesterday that the BIG EAST was desperate to keep you and the ACC was desperate to have you. Talk a little bit about that process through the weekend.
PAUL DEE: I would just say that President Shalala keeps her own counsel (laughter).
JOHN SWOFFORD: And that's what he told me which worried me a little bit.
PAUL DEE: I don't know that the word desperate might be best used here. It was an extremely interesting time to go through. The one thing that I can tell you about President Shalala is that she keeps her options open and we went through a tremendous series of discussions over the last 72 hours before the decision was made in part on Sunday evening and finally on Monday morning.
She went through a lot of discussion. She spoke to a tremendous number of people, our trustees, members of our staff, our coaches, she talked to our coaches a great deal. They had a great deal of influence on her and then she and I spoke for a good long time about a lot of issues on Sunday afternoon, we spent some time together at her home and I think that we understood the dilemmas that were there and we clearly had to select the best position for the University of Miami and as we said yesterday in our press conference, the one thing we really began to focus on that I think that in anything that you do of this magnitude, you must do it with a long, long reach.
We had to look into the future and the stability of the University of Miami's athletics programs for many years to come. This was not a decision about a year, two years, or a series, or a series with some friends. This was about making a commitment to an organization to an athletic conference and to an academic conference and I think that that really became the focus of the decision making for President Shalala.
JOHN SWOFFORD: First of all, I said last week when President Shalala announced and told me that they were going to take the weekend to make their decision, I said at that time that I had fully respected that and understood that for the very reasons that Paul just spoke about. So I had absolutely no issues with that. Paul and I and Jeff Elliott and Wayne Roberts spent a lot of time on the phone on Friday and we had some more conversation on Saturday.
I actually asked President Shalala and Paul if it would be a good idea to fly down to Miami and sit and talk if there was anything left that they wanted to talk through, that we needed to fine-tune or discuss that were issues with them, that they wanted to talk through any further that I would immediately fly to Miami for the weekend and President Shalala said, 'John, I have a golf game scheduled on Saturday and on Sunday and if you come down here and mess either one of those up I am going to be very upset with you.' I took that to mean that I probably shouldn't come to Miami. (Laughter). So I didn't.
But I had a nice weekend here in Greensboro, my wife Nora and I went to a movie and then went out and played nine holes of golf. She drove the cart and I pretended to be a golfer, just the two of us and enjoyed that a great deal and called all my ADs and said you know, when you get a chance this weekend pick up the phone and call Paul Dee and called some of my presidents and said when you get a chance this weekend call President Shalala and then just sort of you know, let go of it.
You reach a point in a lot of these kinds of things where you have done everything that you can do. You just want to make certain that you don't leave any stone unturned and I think Paul and President Shalala both made it plain that they had everything that they needed to have from us in order to make the decision that they would make and you know, once you are comfortable with that you respect that and wait for an answer and fortunately that answer came about 10:30 Monday morning rather than 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
Q: Paul, USC travelled down to open your new basketball facility to play there. Go into a little detail about what that facility means for your basketball program and what it going to bring to the table of the ACC and direct of your basketball program?
PAUL DEE: One of the areas of where our program had not been fully funded and fully taken care of was our basketball programs. Miami had been over the years very successful in football and baseball and in fact from 1971 to 1985 we dropped basketball because we didn't have a place to play. The city of Miami didn't have a place to play well we had different places to play but we were like the Miami nomads, I think in the history of the university we played at 16 different venues in the city, the largest of which sat about 10.
We played in a theater once. Those of you that came down to the Hyatt Hotel and saw us play in a theater everybody was in their comfortable seats and on a stage was a court. We have had some interesting venues. But it had always been important to us that as a university to have our own facility, and through the help of a number of people and our fans, we were able to construct a brand new facility as you said and we opened it this January the 4th, and we had the great fortune to have that building opened with a great university North Carolina and we felt that it would be no more fitting way there and to bring in one of the great basketball teams in the country to help us open that arena.
I don't know what word to use next but we won. And for those of you that saw it was a great game. Rice hits at the buzzer to go into overtime and we have a great game, but the night before we have been in Phoenix and played in the National Championship game in football and was quite a weekend to play in football and play at that high level and go home and open an arena that we wanted for 75 years, and we were just very proud that the university now has that facility and that facility is available as we move forward in this League.
JOHN SWOFFORD: I would add to that if I may, that knowing the tradition and history and importance of basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference that Miami now having an on campus facility was a real plus in terms of our ADs and presidents in the ACC.
Q: Commissioner, had you spoken about trying to keep a long the natural rivalries alive. Speak to the addition of that what are maybe of the biggest headaches as far as scheduling? (inaudible) JOHN SWOFFORD: Initially we won't break into two divisions so that's really not an issue at this point in time. May become one in the future and basically I think whether it's in basketball or in football you have a situation in football where everybody will not play everybody every year and so the challenge there is to set up maintain the rivalries that you want to maintain on an annual basis, but then set up a rotation that's reasonable and fair and attractive and in basketball you would have some that would be you'd play some teams twice in a year home and home but others you would not, so you'd have to set up, you know, a similar type of rotation.
And in terms of the particulars and specifics of that we're just not there yet. That's something we'll sit down with our schools and Athletic Directors inclusive of Jim and Paul before finalizing that. But certainly it's doable.
Q: What do you constitute as a BCS League? There's some question whether the BIG EAST is one.
JOHN SWOFFORD: Well, I think that's something that we'll just have to talk about when things settle a bit more. I would go into it expecting that the BIG EAST will make some changes, whether it's two more or more than two, would be my guess. And then I think there would have to be an evaluation with the Bowls, with ABC, the current contract holder and with the BCS board as to what that means. My guess is and quite frankly my hope would be that the BIG EAST, when that's all said and done would remain a BCS partner.
Q: When it comes to times to decide this is it too simplistic to say that the BCS commissioners to owe the BIG EAST one or is it still a product of the market place and the Bowls and ABC and everything else?
JOHN SWOFFORD: Well, I don't know. I think both of those things could enter into it. We're in the middle of a contract that includes you know, the conferences as listed and I can't speak it is something I have not been a part of a decision on, Dennis, at this point in time, so there's only so much I can really say about it.
Q: (Inaudible) if we went through 12 we would have a great conference, if we went to nine we would have a great conference. Now you have got 11, but where does the basic appeal come from to make a (inaudible) the group has been quoted extensively in numerous newspapers talking about the only thing that works is 12. It's very difficult for me to understand where all these 12 are coming from and how the mega conferences is the only way to go?
JOHN SWOFFORD: Well, I think the 12 comes obviously from that being the number to have the championship football game at the conference level and go into the two divisions and I think the fact that the perception and I think it's a real one that the Big 12 conference is stronger than the Big 8 or the Southwest Conference was, that the Southeastern Conference is stronger as 12 than it has ever been and I'd say both those conferences you know, the SEC basketballWise has gotten actually stronger as a 12 member conference, I think is fair to say. So I think that's where the perception comes from.
Q: Commissioner, have you thought about all the locations for the ACC Tournaments in the future?
JOHN SWOFFORD: We're already on what was a 10 year rotation so we haven't talked about it beyond the current rotation, which takes us through 2011, so we're we have got a few years, I think, before we start talking about extending that.
Q: To try to maintain the rivalries that you have within a 16 games basketball schedule would it be possible to do as they do in the Big 10 have some non conference ACC teams playing some non conference games and also if it takes if it took 7 votes to get something done with nine, with 11, how many votes does it take to get something done now?
JOHN SWOFFORD: It's a simple majority in anything other than expansion.
Q: For expansion?
JOHN SWOFFORD: To get something done. In terms of are you asking in terms of expansion itself?
JOHN SWOFFORD: That's something that we will need to determine.
Q: So much has been made about football. We were left with the impression that some of the basketball players felt that they have not been considered enough particularly the importance that basketball has played in this League through the years. Could you address that?
JOHN SWOFFORD: I think that this is a decision that's made totally as a conference and the normal processes that the AD, faculty rep, presidential level with the people on those campuses making the determination as to who they bring in an advisory capacity on the individual campuses. This has been discussed with football and basketball coaches, men's and women's basketball coaches over somebody help me, but probably over the last two or three spring meetings that we have had there have been discussions with the coaches' groups about the concept of expansion.
Q: When this all began two months ago there was very little talk of geographic footprint. Whether it worked out that way by playing or not, there's some talk about it now, did you learn anything by that and if and when you go to 12 will geographic footprint have a much larger role in determining what happens?
JOHN SWOFFORD: Well, President Clough may want to address this. I think what we learned from it ultimately is that in terms of a consensus and in reaching the 7 vote level that that may be geography in the footprint came to mean more at the end of the process than it appeared to mean at the beginning and during a large part of the process because I do think that had something to do with bringing us to the consensus of where the presidents ended up.
DR. G. WAYNE CLOUGH: Well, I would just add that I think that was one of those definitely in the details kinds of issues that as we got closer and closer to thinking about a decision that we realized it was something that you needed to include in the mix and we in the early days we might not have thought about it as much as perhaps we did.
We certainly appreciate the fact that for example in Florida almost all of the schools in the ACC have a large number of alumni and that's a great fit for us because that means we have got a lot of fans down in Florida, they will love our relationships and rivalries that we'll develop with Miami in addition to the great ones we already have with Florida State. As we got further into the process we started looking at a lot more of the details where our alumni really were, where we recruit our student from all those kinds of issues, so all played part and parcel in the decision process.
BRIAN MORRISON: I'd like to thank the Members of the Panel tonight for taking part in this press conference. That concludes the question and answer session. I'd like to thank you again for participating tonight and to the media.