John Swofford: ACC not planning 3 divisions if deregulation passes

ACC commissioner John Swofford reiterated Thursday that his league has no plans to change its current format if conference championship game deregulation passes.

Last week, CBSSports.com reported deregulation is expected to pass by 2016, citing sources. If that happens, conferences would no longer be required to have 12 teams or two divisions to hold a championship game.

The ACC and Big 12 submitted the NCAA legislation last year asking for the change.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speculated to CBSSports.com that the ACC would move to three divisions, but Swofford told ESPN.com on Thursday that moving to three divisions is "not something we're discussing at all at this point. It just isn't."

"Our purpose behind initiating that discussion was really not about anything specific we would necessarily do, but based on the whole deregulation of a number of NCAA issues in recent years," Swofford told ESPN.com. "We said over and over again that doesn't mean we would necessarily change anything within our own league.

"We just feel conferences should have the opportunity to do that both in terms of the number of teams in a league and whether you can have a championship as well as how you determine which teams play in that championship game. During these conversations, we haven't had any real discussion about a three-division ACC. That has never had any legs in our discussions, and so far, any change to what we're doing now has not had any real legs."

Championship game deregulation is expected to be discussed at an NCAA football oversight committee meeting, chaired by Bowlsby, later this month. Legislation would then be vetted and passed on to the NCAA council for final approval.

"My impression is that there is support for it," Swofford said. "I would guess if that support is there, that it could be implemented as early as the '16 football season."

The Big 12 would stand to gain almost immediately, since the league only has 10 teams and is not currently eligible for a conference championship game. But many are wondering what the ACC has to gain, because the conference already has a league championship game.

Swofford said the support is based primarily on principle, so don't expect much to change in the ACC -- at least for now.

"I think the fact that we were supporting this in principle and felt it was the right route to go, it gives people the impression that we have a specific direction we would take things in in our league that's different than what we're currently doing," Swofford said. "That's just not the case."