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ACC chief: Focus NCAA rules on major offenses

GREENSBORO, N.C. — ACC commissioner John Swofford said Monday that college athletics need a major overhaul and that tweaking the status quo isn't going to get it done.

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"Over the years what's happened is you try to put in a rule that keeps those that would cheat from cheating, and you end up trying to close every little loophole," Swofford told the Associated Press. "I think we need to be addressing the felons, if you will, as opposed to the jaywalkers and get ourselves out of this maze of rules that are unenforceable.

"Although well-intended, I'm not sure whether somebody got a text on a day they weren't supposed to get a text is a huge problem in reality."

A quarter of Swofford's ACC schools are mired in NCAA troubles.

The commissioner said league officials have talked with Miami, where a former booster says he provided cash, gifts and other improper benefits to more than 70 athletes, including current ones, over eight years. North Carolina has spent the past year under NCAA investigation for improper benefits and academic misconduct. Georgia Tech recently was forced to give back its 2009 ACC football championship trophy because of rules violations.

Swofford said he is confident people at ACC schools will "get at the truth and straighten it out when there's a problem."

He wouldn't discuss specifics of the Miami case, but he took dead aim at a system that in his eyes is clearly in need of repair.

Swofford said college sports needs to better understand possible violations connected to third parties, outside influences such as agents, agent runners and boosters. He also talked about improving the NCAA enforcement process by making it swifter, more consistent and stern but fair.

He also said he'd support increasing the value of an athlete's scholarship, though he wouldn't support a proposal to directly pay athletes.

Swofford also addressed reports that Clemson and Florida State were possible realignment targets of the SEC this month. He said leaders at every ACC school have told him they're "committed to the league, and we're a stable group." But he refused to say whether the league would consider expansion.

LSU: Quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three teammates will meet with police today at an undisclosed time and location about a bar fight in which they are accused of participating, Baton Rogue police spokesman Sgt. Don Stone said. He said police were keeping meeting details secret to ensure the integrity of the investigation in the fight early Friday. The players were supposed to talk Monday, but their attorney, Nathan Fisher, had asked for a delay. Coach Les Miles has said a "relatively large group" of players was involved in the fight. Police said they know of four alleged victims, all of whom were treated and released at a hospital.

Fiesta bowl: The 2012 game has been moved up three days, to Jan. 2, and will be played right after the Rose Bowl. Bowl officials hope the move boosts TV ratings and out-of-state visitors to the game.

USF men's soccer: USF unveils its new Corbett Soccer Stadium in an exhibition game against the University of Tampa at 7:30 tonight.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

ACC chief: Focus NCAA rules on major offenses 08/22/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 22, 2011 11:46pm]
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