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Swofford’s retirement comes with uneven legacy

Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 10:49 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Thursday, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced he will retire this time next year after almost a quarter-century on the job.

On a macro level, history will look at Swofford as the commissioner that kept the ACC together, expanding at the Big East’s expense and giving the conference its own network. But, for many in the league, especially football-minded members, the good comes with some bad.

“Long term, I think Florida State’s in good, but not great, shape,” said Bob Ferrante, who has been covering the Seminoles for over a decade and does so currently for The Osceola and the Associated Press.

He’s among those who see Swofford’s legacy as a mixed bag, leaving the conference’s standing more secure than its checkbooks.

“Swofford’s legacy, clearly one of adding schools, expanding to 15, including Notre Dame in all but football. On the downside, with Swofford, the revenue is increased, but it’s not kept up with the SEC or the Big Ten,” he said.

The ACC’s grant of rights has helped secure the league and, last year, brought forward the ACC Network. But, detractors argue the linear network was too late in the age of cord-cutting and it’s lack of a major deal with Comcast, a sour spot with many in the Sunshine State.

“Florida State won the national title in 2014,” Ferrante continued. “If you could have agreed to something soon thereafter when Florida State was riding a high and Clemson was emerging, what would the ACC look like, especially financially, if a network had come onboard, say, in 2015 or 2016 instead of 2019.”

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