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July 22, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford officially opened the 41st annual ACC Football Kickoff when he addressed members of the media on Sunday, July 22 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.
During the Commissioner's Forum Swofford addressed a number of topics including a look back at last year, current national issues and looking ahead to the upcoming football season.
Swofford started by sharing marks of academic excellence from across the conference. He noted that the ACC was one of only two conferences with four schools in the top 20 of the NACDA All-Sports standings. Swofford emphasized that the ACC has consistently had strong academic performance, with four or more schools ranking in the top 30 for 11 consecutive years. Furthermore, Swofford stated, the ACC is the only BCS-AQ conference where multiple schools have achieved a 90 percent graduation rate of their football players every year since 2005 and ACC football coaches lead the country in composite APR scores.
Focus then shifted to the gridiron. Swofford reported that the 2011 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game set an attendance record for the event. He pointed out that more than half the league's teams participated in a bowl game last season, including two teams competing in BCS bowls for the first time in conference history.
In looking ahead, Swofford highlighted the league's expanding membership with Pitt and Syracuse set to begin its ACC membership on July 1, 2013. He highlighted the recent extension the league's multimedia partnership with ESPN and claiming a stake within the future structure of postseason football, including a new 12-year agreement with the Orange Bowl Committee which guarantees that the ACC Champion will play annually on New Year's Day beginning after the 2014 season.
Focusing on the fans, Swofford highlighted that the league's relationship with ESPN allows every ACC-controlled football game to be available nationwide on one platform or another. In addition to ESPN, the ACC Network continues to be broader than ever before with no geographic parameters. The ACC Network is also now available in every ACC bowl city along with major markets including LA, Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, Dallas, Philly, Cleveland and Indy.
In addition to ESPN and the ACC Network, Swofford expressed his confidence that the ACC Digital Network and ACC mobile applications will continue their exponential growth.
Coming back to football, Swofford noted that the ACC has no shortage of high-profile, nonconference games. The upcoming 2012 season features ACC teams playing 48 percent of nonconference games against BCS-AQ teams, more than any other conference.
Fans are encouraged to keep up with all the events at this year's ACC Football Kickoff the official ACC Kickoff site http://bit.ly/ACCKickoff-2012, on Twitter, @theACCfootball, and by using the hashtag #ACCKickoff.