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ACC won't help with Pitt's Big East buyout

| Sunday, July 22, 2012, 5:22 p.m.
ACC commissioner John Swofford speaks to the media during a news conference Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Greensboro, N.C.. (AP)
Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford speaks to the media during the conference's college football kickoff news conference in Greensboro, N.C., on Sunday, July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Summers just aren't quiet anymore for the ACC.

More NCAA concerns have popped up at Miami, while North Carolina prepares to serve its one-year bowl ban. The league found out it finally will begin playing with 14 schools in 2013, quashed rumors that some members might be considering leaving and kept its seat at the major-conference table by re-upping with the Orange Bowl.

So as the ACC opened its two-day media days Sunday, it faced a new list of questions.

What will happen with Miami after new rule-breaking accusations surfaced late last week? Will the league keep growing or stop with Pitt and Syracuse? Who will ACC teams play in those future Orange Bowls?

In a wide-ranging, 45-minute question-and-answer session, commissioner John Swofford said the league's focus is “totally on 14” schools.

Syracuse and Pitt announced separate agreements last week to pay $7.5 million apiece to leave the Big East for the ACC after this season, and Swofford said Sunday that the ACC wouldn't help either school with those payments.

Pitt's move from the Big East to the ACC will more than triple the Panthers' annual TV revenue to $17 million from less than $5 million, covering the added cost of switching conferences 17 months early.

“When you look at where we are going and the financial impact of this,” Pederson said Thursday, “you can almost just look at the television contract alone and know literally in a very short period of time, probably within the first year, we will be able to make up the difference and get this taken care of.”

Swofford seemed adamant that the only changes to the league's composition would be Pitt and Syracuse — with no subtractions.

There were persistent rumors through the spring and summer that Florida State and perhaps another ACC school might consider leaving for the Big 12. After visiting Clemson's board of trustees last week, Swofford emphasized that he's “totally” comfortable that the Tigers are committed to the ACC and blamed social media for repeating misinformation that “has no real basis of truth to it ... or is simply inaccurate.”

Notre Dame has long been rumored to be coveted by the ACC, should the league decide to expand again. When a reporter asked Swofford if he thinks the Irish would eventually join the ACC, the commissioner quipped that he “couldn't hear the question” and later said the league was focusing on making things work with 14 schools.

Swofford said there are “several different scenarios with regard to the opposite side of the Orange Bowl” and added that discussions that “could bring in a very broad group” as possible opponents. Once the matchup is set, Swofford said the league will further explore its television deal for the Jan. 1 bowl game.

In discussing the latest published reports about Miami and the NCAA, he said the “sooner we can get the several problems totally behind us that we've had in this league, the better.”

Swofford declined to discuss specifics of the investigation at Miami but said that as it relates to the league's image, “those are situations you never want in any conference.

“This league has a tremendous history and tradition of integrity,” he said. “That's still the case, but we've had a few (issues) that have clustered here recently that you just simply do not like to see or want to see, and you want them cleared up, you want them behind you and you don't want to see them again.”

Additionally, new coach Larry Fedora's first North Carolina team is ineligible for the ACC title and can't play in a bowl game as part of sanctions levied following the NCAA's nearly two-year review of improper benefits and academic misconduct within the football program.

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