On to the next question … What are the priorities for the league moving forward?
JS: To continue to build on who we are competitively as well as the mission of what this conference is all about: that’s the balance of being nationally competitive and academically strong in programs that operate within the rules and integrity. Those things will never change I hope. That’s what the ACC has been and is will always strive to be all about. That’s consistent with our mission and who we are. In recent years we’ve expanded, we’ve strengthened and solidified our league and that gave us an opportunity to negotiate a lucrative television contract and putting that into place next year and managing that with ESPN and Raycom will be a top priority for us. That’s a 12-year deal that will give us more exposure and more dollars, significantly more than our conference has ever enjoyed before, and it also gives us other platforms from the technology standpoint to move ahead in that area in terms of giving exposure to our league.
Given that the TV contract is in place, and everything is quiet on the expansion and alignment front, what will the hot topics be at this year’s spring meetings?
JS: There’s always plenty to talk about. With next year being the first year of the new television agreement, there will be some changes there. We’ll want to maximize our opportunities that exist for us with that new television contract, not only with football, but with basketball and our Olympic sports as well. You’re always looking ahead. In any organization, there’s no room for any complacency. As a league we have to continually look at how we can be better, what the landscape is out there, what changes may come and how they might affect us in one way or another.
One other thing I wanted to ask you, kind of a delicate topic, but as a previous AD of North Carolina, what was your take on everything that happened with the NCAA investigation, both having that tie to the university and now as a commissioner? You don’t usually see that at Carolina.
JS: No, and that is something that -- anytime one of our schools, regardless of which one it might be, has an NCAA problem, I find it very disturbing, and I found this to be. We don’t comment on ongoing NCAA situations, and this is ongoing, to an extent. It hasn’t been fully closed yet, but it’s the type of thing you don’t want to see happen, the type of thing that should not happen. With that said, I think Carolina has dealt with it very appropriately. Once the things that occurred came to light, they assisted the NCAA in entirely appropriate ways. The fact that that program had been -- I couldn’t tell you the last time there was a significantq NCAA problem there …
When something like that happens, does the ACC office or league compliance office get involved in any way or do you let the schools handle it themselves?
JS: We’re here to assist the institution and the NCAA in any way, if either one desires us to do so. That’s true any time any of our schools have any issues, and it was no different in this situation. The conference office does not do investigations. That’s the case with most conferences, the Pac-10 being the lone exception at the major conference level. That’s an NCAA role. We’re there to assist both parties in any way either one of them wants us to. Once the NCAA investigation is complete and there’s a full report given to the whole conference, the conference either accepts that report and any sanctions that may go along with it, or, theoretically could add onto those sanctions. But generally speaking and historically speaking, the conference has accepted the NCAA ruling.
Is there anything you want ACC football fans to know that I didn’t ask you about?
JS: You keep playing, you keep building, and the commitment to football I see from our institutions is exactly what you would want to see. I think our potential as a league is better than it’s ever been before with the programs we now have. We just need to collectively reach that potential.