Saturday, July 31, 2010

Raycom assures itself of Duke, Carolina basketball

ESPN just grabbed the rights to ACC coverage for 12 years, in a deal that starts next year, but the cable behemoth will continue to work in conjunction with Raycom out of Charlotte.

Raycom has essentially been the broker for ACC games - that is, Raycom has controlled the rights and then sells the games to different networks. There was some concern at Raycom, as the ACC was working out its deal, that the company would be shut out of negotiations if the ACC went with ESPN.

Instead, the league and Raycom found a way to work together with ESPN. ESPN will still get the biggest chunk of games and the prime contests, but Raycom, in the contract, will still be involved. In fact, Raycom will get at least five UNC or Duke basketball games a year, including at least one Duke-UNC game.

Here's the interesting part - in the past, ESPN was shut out in local markets of one Duke-Carolina game. But now, there will be two broadcasts of the game, on both ESPN and locally. So in the Triangle, you'd be able to see the game on WRAL ... and a different broadcast on ESPN.

By the way, it says something about the power of the Carolina and Duke basketball brands that it was written into the contract that Raycom had a share of those games. You can bet that didn't happen with, say, Miami and Florida State games ...

Patten abruptly retires from the NFL

David Patten, a receiver who went undrafted out of Western Carolina yet went on to win three Super Bowl rings, suddenly and surprisingly announced his retirement this morning.

During the second day of training camp with the Patriots, Patten decided that he just wasn't mentally into it anymore. Patten, almost 36, hadn't even told his family yet when he told Coach Bill Belichick of his decision.

"This is a sad moment," Belichick said. "But it’s also a very happy one and one to celebrate - a truly great career, the rags-to-riches story, coming off unloading coffee bags to the NFL career that he's had is a tremendous story, and very deserving of the type of person and the type of player that David was for the New England Patriots and throughout his career in the league."

Most of Patten's success came early in his career with the Patriots. During his 12 NFL seasons, he caught 324 passes for 4,715 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also played for the Giants, Browns, Redskins and Saints.

As a follower of the Redskins, I know he unfortunately didn't do much for the Skins. During his two years with the club, 2005 and 2006, he had knee surgery and viral meningitis.

Patten lives with his family in South Carolina and will become a minister full time.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Deacons want to keep Grobe's 'bug eyes' to a minimum

Wake Forest was a stunning 5-7 last year, which tells you a great deal about how far the Deacons have come when a 5-7 season is considered a disappointment. Hey, it wasn’t that long ago that five wins was something to celebrate in Winston-Salem.

Coach Jim Grobe has changed those expectations, and running back Josh Adams recently gave you a sense of that when he talked about Grobe’s reaction after one game in 2009.

“You know he’s mad when his face turns red and he throws his hat down and gets the bug eyes,” running back Josh Adams said.

The Deacons actually lost five games in a row at one point last season, and three of those were close. Adams, who played at Cary High, said the team needs more “mental toughness” in those tight games. “When it comes to grinding time, you’re able to pull out the win,” he said.

The Deacons enter this season without quarterback Riley Skinner, a four-year starter. But Adams enters the year with 1,896 career rushing yards, 11th in Wake history, and Grobe plans to give him heavy carries this fall.

“We expect ourselves to win,” Adams said. “That’s why falling short last year was very disappointing.”

Oh, and they definitely don’t want a repeat performance of Grobe getting angry with the team, tossing his hat and getting “the bug eyes.”

“We saw more frustration [from the head coach] than we have seen,” Adams said. “Hopefully we can keep that to a minimum this year.”

ESPN puts the ACC in 3-D

ACC NEWS RELEASE - ACC Football is going Three-Dimensional in a big way in 2010. ESPN has announced that the first three games the cable network will televise in 3-D this fall will feature ACC teams beginning with the Virginia Tech hosting Boise State on Labor Day Monday Night at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

The game between the nationally-ranked Hokies and Broncos, which will have an 8 p.m. (ET) Kickoff, is the first of three straight ESPN ACC contests that will be televised with the 3-D technology.

The second will be Miami’s Sept. 11 contest at Ohio State, which will have a 3:40 p.m. (ET) kickoff and will be televised by ESPN.

Clemson will then travel to Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 18 for the third straight ACC three dimensional gridiron contest featuring an ACC school on ESPN. The game will have a 7 pm (ET) kickoff.

In all, ESPN has announced that four ACC games will be televised in 3-D as the 6th Annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game, which will be held this year at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 4 (7:45 pm, ET), is also scheduled to be televised by ESPN in 3-D.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dana Bible's return inspires N.C. State

The most significant returning starter for N.C. State is Dana Bible, the offensive coordinator whose life changed Nov. 20, when he checked into the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center the day before State’s game at Virginia Tech.

Bible had the full-throttle work ethic of many football coaches, overlooking any aches and pains. But he knew something was wrong, and he went to see coach Tom O’Brien the Friday morning before the game at Tech. “From the time he walked into my office at 11 am until when we headed to Blacksburg, he looked terrible,” O’Brien said.

Bible had acute promyelocytic leukemia, and needed treatment immediately. At one point in the treatment, O’Brien said, “We almost lost him. But he made it through it and he made it through this whole thing.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GoPack's Peeler hunts through Wolfpack archives

OK, one last post and that's it for the night, but take a few minutes to see this wonderful piece by Todd Gibson of NBC-17 on N.C. State's hunt for its athletic memories.

Tim Peeler, the managing editor of GoPack.com, is digging through the bowels of Reynolds Coliseum to find old trophies and artifacts and is trying to organize it all for N.C. State. Gibson has some cool video of the project.

UNC's Williams already raving about Harrison Barnes

Wow, UNC coach Roy Williams is already raving about incoming recruit Harrison Barnes from Ames, Iowa. Williams will get his first look at Barnes in August when the Tar Heels play in the Bahamas.

``Tyler is the most driven player I’ve ever coached,” Williams told Fox Sports. ``I think Harrison will be No. 2. He has tremendous focus, self-discipline and is so driven.”

Oh, and Barnes knows how to use Skype, too.

Panthers arrival reminds us of uncertain futures of Fox, Cowher

The Carolina Panthers reported for duty Wednesday, with Jimmy Clausen signed and team regulars like Julius Peppers and Jake Delhomme no longer in the fold. This is a younger, and probably not better, Panthers team than the one that finished 8-8 last season.

The major storyline hanging over this season is the future of coach John Fox. Fox is a bright, sincere coach who wants to do things the proper way. He has won in Carolina, but from a distance you get the feel that his time there is running out.

Fox has only this season remaining on his contract, and an issue to watch is whether Bill Cowher returns to coaching – and goes to Carolina. When I interviewed Cowher for WRAL back in February, he had an interest in returning “if it were the right situation.”

You can’t help but feel for Cowher in light of the death of his wife, Kaye. They went to N.C. State together, and she was from Bunn. Moving to Raleigh, and leaving the NFL, was an important decision for their family. I wouldn’t begin to predict how a devasting loss like that would impact Cowher’s future.

Where Cowher takes his career remains to be seen, and that’s certainly not at the forefront of his mind now. Bbut his youngest daughter is already at Wofford, where the Panthers hold training camp. Cowher is a tough, smart, but quite compassionate coach who’d be a great fit with Jerry Richardson if he wanted to consider Carolina.

I couldn’t help today but think of the irony of the Panthers, and Cowher’s daughter, heading to Wofford – and wonder what that might mean for future developments.

McCants turns down chance to play in NBA to be with ailing mother

Former UNC basketball player Rashad McCants, who did not play in the NBA last season, had a chance to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers summer league team this month but chose instead to come to Raleigh to be with his ailing mother, a breast cancer survivor.

McCants, who averaged 15 points a game in 2008 for the Minnesota Timberwolves, didn't play as much in 2009 and was traded to Sacramento which eventually refused to re-sign him. He sat out last season.

McCants, a native of Asheville, is only 26 and seemingly had an NBA-type game even when in college. He was considered moody at UNC but he hasn't gotten in any trouble since turning professional.

He says that playing in Europe is not an option. Eventhough his surly reputation remains, hopefully he'll get another chance with the Cavaliers or maybe the Celtics (he's friends with Kevin Garnett).

An article on McCants titled "Born to be hated, dying to be loved" appears in the most recent ESPN The Magazine.

Heels defense heads All-ACC team

A sign of the UNC program's progression under coach Butch Davis, the Tar Heels landed five defensive players on the ACC's preseason all-conference football team, which was released on Wednesday.

Defensive end Robert Quinn, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, linebacker Quan Sturdivant, cornerback Kendrick Burney and safety Deunta Williams were all selected. The team was voted on by the media attending the ACC Kickoff press conferences in Greensboro Sunday and Monday. North Carolina had the nation's No. 6 defense last season.

By comparison, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, the preseason pick for league player of the year, is one of two Seminoles on the team.

Also on the offense, Duke wide receiver Donovan Varner and N.C. State tight end George Bryan were the lone Triangle players picked.

DE Robert Quinn causing problems ... for UNC

How good is defensive end Robert Quinn? So good the UNC coaching staff essentially had to tell him to “take a knee” in the spring football game, coach Butch Davis said. Quinn was so dominant the Tar Heels couldn’t block him, which meant they couldn’t practice their offense.

Quinn, a junior, ripped off 11.0 sacks in 2009, and if you watched Carolina play at all you couldn’t help but be stunned by his development. He came into the spring even better. “He wanted to dominate every drill,” Davis said with a smile that suggested he had seen something special.

Quinn is an unusual player. He survived brain surgery as a high school senior and you figured it was a cool story that he was in college and playing at all. He also has an almost childish exuberance when you’re around him. Hewore four SillyBandz on his wrist to the ACC Football kickoff this week, and it’s not often you see 270-pound NFL prospects wearing the same bling as elementary school kids.

That gentle off-the-field nature belies a player who could be one of UNC’s best. He doesn’t have the nasty streak of Lawrence Taylor but he has a burst and overall game that reminds you of that former Tar Heel great. Taylor had 16.0 sacks as a senior in 1980, which remains a school record. But it was how he got those sacks that made Taylor so great – he didn’t just come around the edge, he roared around it with an intent to destroy.

Quinn says he wants to get 20 sacks this season, a figure that makes you want to chuckle – at least until you hear Butch Davis talk about him. You can be confident Quinn won’t be taking a knee against Carolina opponents this fall.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Charges against N.C. State players should just blow over

It’s a fair outcome for the marijuana charges against four N.C. State football players to, well, blow over, since the fact that a bunch of college kids were smoking pot hardly ranks as major news. Coach Tom O’Brien refused to go into the issue on Monday in Greensboro and WRAL.com quoted him as saying the issue had been addressed and, “We’re moving on.”

Jakes Vermiglio, Markus Kuhn, George Bryan and J. R. Sweezy were charged April 24 with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The charges against Vermiglio, Kuhn and Sweezy were dropped Tuesday, according to The N&O and WRAL. The case against Bryan was continued.

This is significant because left tackle Vermiglio and tight end Bryan are starters and Kuhn is listed at No. 2 on the depth chart at defensive tackle. State needs all the good players it can get this year as O’Brien tries to turn around a program that is 16-21 under his watch. Already, State will play the season without Rashard Smith, a projected starter at cornerback, because of a knee injury.

Perhaps the most interesting case is Sweezy. He was charged in March of beating up a shuttle bus driver, but PackPride.com reported those charges were dropped last month. Sweezy is not listed on the two-deep, but keep in mind players who get in trouble in the offseason are often not left off the depth chart. Sweezy played in 12 games last season and started against Gardner-Webb.

Renfree committed to Duke's success

With quarterback Thaddeus Lewis completing his eligibility for Duke last season, the Blue Devils need a productive, trusted leader to replace him.

Sean Renfree, though just a redshirt sophomore, finds himself first in line for the opportunity.

A highly touted prospect out of Scottsdale, Ariz., Renfree saw limited action behind Lewis last season before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament last November. While recovering from the injury, Renfree wasn't able to compete in contact drills during spring practice. But he was able to take part in many other drills.

``He got a lot more work in the the spring than I ever thought he would,'' Duke coach David Cutcliffe said.

Renfree's commitment to the Blue Devils goes beyond toughness. Cutcliffe said Renfree received an invitation to attend the Manning Passing Academy this summer, but declined.

For nearly two decades, the Mannings have held their passing camp in Louisiana each year. It brings together NFL, college and high school quarterbacks. Archie Manning and sons Peyton and Eli always attend. (As a reporter covering the New Orleans Saints beat, I first met Eli when he was a teenager at this event. I also watched Chris Simms, among others, as a high school player there).

While honored and intrigued at the opportunity, Renfree chose to stay in Durham working with his Duke teammates this summer, figuring it would help the team more. But Renfree worried about offending the Mannings.

Cutcliffe, having coached Peyton and Eli, told Renfree he'd handle passing on the regrets.

``I told him they wouldn't be angry,'' Cutcliffe said. ``He said, ``I don't want to do it because I feel like I need to be here rehabbing and working with our players.' I think that's indicative of the commitment that Sean has as a player. It made me kind of smile, to be honest with you.''

New State coach Tenuta makes impression on Irving

Tom O’Brien has been trying to hire Jon Tenuta since, oh, about the time Tenuta graduated from Virginia in 1982. O’Brien finally got him, as the linebackers coach for this N.C. State team, and Wolfpack players had no idea what was ahead when Tenuta arrived for their first meeting.

Pack linebacker Nate Irving said he was used to his group laughing and joking around – and quickly learned his new coach had a different vibe. Irving said Tenuta walked in, and said, “Alright, the laughing stops now.”

“He introduced himself and got straight down to business,” Irving said.

Tenuta, 53, has been a defensive coordinator at seven different schools and spent the past two seasons at Notre Dame. Before that he spent six seasons at Georgia Tech and one at UNC. Tenuta is known for both his gruff, demanding style and his dazzling ability to create blitzing defenses. O’Brien said Tenuta’s style will blend in well with what he and defensive coordinator Mike Archer want to achieve this season.

But what has struck Irving, too, is how well Tenuta knows the game. While Irving expects more blitzes, he also expects State’s run defense to improve, in part because Tenuta is so specific in what he expects.

O’Brien, for one, is thrilled to finally have Tenuta on his staff. “He brings an attitude about the way he coaches and approaches the game,” O’Brien said.

Yes, he does. Irving learned that the first meeting.

NCSU's O'Brien continues to insist Glennon will push Wilson

Tom O’Brien tends to shoot straight, so it’s worth paying close attention when he talks about Mike Glennon. It’s easy to assume that Russell Wilson will start at quarterback for State, but O’Brien continued to insist Monday that the quarterback position is open.

“Mike Glennon is going to push Russell for the starting job,” O’Brien said. And asked they could share the position, O’Brien said, “I’ve never been a two-quarterback guy.”

It’s not just what he says, but how he says it. There’s some real conviction in O’Brien’s voice when it comes to Glennon. Remember, O’Brien is a guy whose best Boston College teams featured drop-back, NFL-style passers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cary Post 67 eliminated from American Legion State Tournament

Kernersville Post 36 overcame a 3-0 deficit with seven runs in the fifth inning to eliminate Cary Post 67 by a 10-5 score in the American Legion State Tournament in Asheboro today.

Cary was knocked to the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament by falling to Randolph County 2-1 in 11 innings Sunday night.

Against Kernersville, Cary jumped out to a 2-0 lead as Stephen McKinney singled in Drew Woodall, who had doubled, and Anthony Colantino singled in a run. In the fourth, Cary extended the lead to 3-0 when David Hamm singled in Colantino, who had singled and stolen second base.

But a disastrous fifth inning, which included two runs scoring on a bases-loaded walk and a balk by Cary pitcher James Todd, was the beginning of the end of the Post 67 season. Kernersville's Evan Orenstein capped off the seven-run inning with a three-run homer off Cary's Gerrit Van Genderen.

Cary ends its season 22-10. The teams left competing for the state title are Whiteville, Randolph County, Kernersville and Cherryville.

A pair of Cary players will remain in ACC country as Hamm, an Athens Drive grad, will attend N.C. State while Grant Shambley, a Green Hope grad, has signed with Wake Forest.

Lessons learned at UNC

North Carolina coach Butch Davis suggested maybe the school was ``a little naive'' in how it dealt with players and agents and that a lesson can be learned from the current scandal.

Speaking Monday in Greensboro at ACC Media Days, Davis repeated his stance that the school did all it could as far as educating its athletes about how to deal with agents. Davis said last week the NCAA told UNC they did a good job with that aspect. But that doesn't mean they were perfect.

``People make mistakes and they learn from it,'' Davis said. ``There are instances that happen and we will deal with them and be a better program because of them. We will learn from them. Maybe we were a little naive.''

Earlier this month, NCAA investigators visited Chapel Hill to interview UNC football players Marvin Austin and Greg Little about possible benefits they received from agents. If the allegations are proven true, their eligibility would be in jeopardy.

The NCAA requested that UNC not pursue its own investigation of the events. UNC's coaches and players are also not supposed to comment specifically about the events and the investigation.

But there's nothing wrong with them talking in general about agents and their impact on the daily life of student-athletes. Nearly every ACC coach this weekend has been asked a question about this topic.

Davis also said he thought it would be a good idea for schools and conferences to create a database of information about agents, with good and bad reviews.

``That way we can tell our (players) that, if these guys are visiting campus you need to know that these are bad guys,'' Davis said. ``If a guy is a crook on the West Coast, we not know about it here.''

Overlooking Ga. Tech? That's not a good idea

The ACC media just picked Virginia Tech to win the league Monday, and Georgia Tech garnered only enough votes for fourth overall (see post below). And does Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson looked worried? Um, no.

"We lost some key players," Johnson shrugged when told of the media vote. "We can be competitive."

Oh, yes they can. The Yellow Jackets won the ACC last year, beating Clemson in the title game, and Tech returns quarterback Josh Nesbitt and running back Roddy Jones to an offense that confounds opponents. And fired Virginia coach Al Groh is taking over as Tech's defensive coordinator. One thing Groh knows how to do is coach defense (in addition to beating Carolina), so that's a major addition.Tech scored 33.8 points per game last season but allowed 24.8.

Johnson just seems to have this Spurrier-esque confidence, without the bravado. He even calls the offense but doesn't bother to write down or chart the plays in games.  "I've always been that way," he said. "It helps to not have 500 plays."

Tech lost five starters on offense and on defense, but there is depth and talent returning. A pivotal game comes Sept. 18, at UNC at noon. Tech should beat South Carolina State and win at Kansas to open the season. With a win in Chapel Hill, the Jackets could be off and running - again.

Va. Tech picked to win ACC; State, UNC each picked for 4th

Virginia Tech is the preseason favorite in ACC football, being picked to win the league on 50 of 98 ballots by media at the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro.

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder was the ACC preseason player of the year, with 45 votes. N.C. State's Russell Wilson and UNC's Robert Quinn tied for fourth with six votes.

Florida State was picked to win the Atlantic Division and received the second-highest total of votes (26) to win the league overall.

The Triangle schools didn't fare well. N.C. State was picked fourth in the Atlantic, with UNC picked for fourth in the Coastal and Duke fifth in the Coastal.

Here are the totals:

Atlantic Division
Fla. State  565
Clemson 479
Boston College 389
N.C. State  283
Wake 203
Maryland 139

Coastal Division
Va. Tech 532
Miami 444
Ga. Tech 408
UNC 379
Duke 169
Virginia 126

Just how good is UNC's Marvin Austin?

One of the great aspects of the ACC Football Kickoff at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro is you get to catch up with other sports reporters who follow the league closely. And some of the best insights come not in the interviews, but in the press room.

Sunday night, I got into a long discussion about UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin with some other reporters who closely follow the team. We all agreed that while Austin is very good, he's not as terrific as his reputation might suggest. Austin is super quotable and media friendly, which means he is often on TV and in the paper. And he has a penchant for spectacular plays, so when he is at his best, he is easy to remember.

But play in and play out, he's not one of the best on Carolina's defense, as a fellow reporter aptly noted. The Tar Heels can stand to lose Austin more than some others on that defense.  Austin is highly rated by the NFL, but defensive tackles who can move are always in demand.

So good is Austin? It's an interesting question. He was 10th on the team in tackles with 42, but that's not a fair measure of an interior lineman. He had 4.0 sacks, tied for third on the team.

Much more coming from Greensboro Monday afteroon, and more insights from fellow reporters ahead as well.

Cary Legion team falls in 11th inning; moves to loser's bracket

Cary Post 67 defeated Cherryville Post 100, 2-1, on Saturday but fell into the loser's bracket of the American Legion State Tournament in Asheboro after losing to Randolph County by the same score Sunday night.

Cary pitcher Daniel Sondag hit a Randolph batter with the bases loaded and two outs in the 11th inning for the loss. Post 67 had the lead into the eighth when Randolph tied it.

Cary, 22-9, now plays Kernersville, a 13-3 victor over Rocky Mount, in an elimination game Monday at 4:30 p.m.

Both tournament favorites - Rocky Mount and Wilmington, who entered the tourney with the best records - have been ousted from the tournament. Randolph County and Whiteville are the only teams left from the eight-field tournament that have not lost in the state tourney.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Everyone can root for this linebacker

Mark Herzlich looks so normal, tells his story with such straight-forward strength, that you find the facts almost hard to believe.

A year ago, Herzlich was out of football with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that threatened his life. He didn’t play at all in 2009 and you figured you’d never see him in a Boston College uniform again.

On Sunday at the ACC’s Football Kickoff, you couldn’t help but be impressed by Herzlich. He spoke of how much he missed the game – “Hitting is the best part about what I do,” he said _ and talked of how he can’t wait until the opener Sept. 4 with Weber State.

Herzlich, a senior, believes he is healthy now and his left leg can withstand college football. “If some freak accident happens, some freak accident happens,” he said. The bone in his leg could break, but the real risk is, if it does, then healing again could be difficult.

Herzlich understands this and exudes a calm and confidence honed by a year of rehabilitation. He spoke of how grateful he was when teammates and others raised money to fight cancer. His wears multiple wristbands that remind him of his comeback. One came from a fan and says “PUSH,” for “Pray Until Something Happens.”

The fan told him to pray for specific outcomes. “I prayed to beat cancer and to come back and play football again,” Herzlich said.”God willing, Sept. 4, I’ll be able to fulfill that goal.”

UNC's Quinn: Agents, runners all over Facebook

The issue of athletes receiving improper benefits from sports agents has spread like a rash over the country, touching schools such at Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and, of course, UNC.

While Tar Heel players were instructed not to discuss the situation involving Marvin Austin and Greg Little specifically today at the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro, UNC's Robert Quinn did offer some insight into how agents and their runners, go about their business.

``They try to contact me on Facebook,'' Quinn said. ``But I don't pay no attention to it. I don't know how many, really. But that's it. I ignore it.''

Due to his talents, Quinn is a big target for agents. If the 6-5 junior defensive end, who had 11 sacks last season, declares for the NFL after this season, he would be among the top five prospects overall, according to several scouting services. While it's not illegal for athletes to have contact with agents, it is against NCAA rules and North Carolina law for them to receive anything of value or enter into an agreement before their eligibility is up.

N.C. State senior wide receiver Owen Spencer said agents do ``a lot of things'' to try to make contact with players. He said patience is the key to avoiding the trouble that's always lurking.

``You try to stay away from all that,'' Spencer said. ``You just have to wait for it. You don't want to jeopardize you eligibility. We just stay away from that.''

Miami defensive lineman Allen Bailey said he deals with online contact, via Facebook or Twitter, on a weekly basis.

``It can get to you if you allow it to,'' Bailey said. ``It's annoying sometimes.''

Bailey said, like all major programs, compliance officials are adamant about educating athletes on the rules.

``Coach (Randy) Shannon, he harps on that real big,'' Bailey said. ``We have compliance meetings on that four times a year -- on that topic specifically. We all know right from wrong. We know what we can and can't do. I don't think anybody would jeopardize their season or the whole team's season because of that.''

ACC's Swofford addresses how to attack rogue agents

John Swofford, with his history as a player and later athletics director at North Carolina and now the commissioner of the ACC, has a long perspective on issues with college athletics. Given that, I asked him Sunday, at the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, if the problems with rogue agents were more pronounced now than in the past.

”I suggest it has some because of the dollars at the next level in the NFL and NBA. That’s a part of it,” Swofford said. “I think it’s also being paid more attention as a whole, and that’s good.”

But the issue is clearly one of concern to Swofford, who gave a lengthy answer in front of hundreds of reporters. In particular, Swofford addressed what could be done to improve the issue.

First, he said, the players associations for the NFL and NBA need to be involved. Those are the institutions that govern the players – and agents.

Second, he said, the NCAA needs to review the rules it has in place and consider beefing up its small enforcement staff.

Third, the 38 states that have statutes limiting agents like, North Carolina, should aggressively enforce those laws.

“I applaud the investigation that the secretary of state in North Carolina, Elaine Marshall, has undertaken,” Swofford said. “I think that’s a big plus. I’d like to see more of that.” But he said the punishments should be much more than mere fines like $25,000, he said.

As for the conference’s role, the league helps educate players and coaches on what’s allowed, but Swofford said knowing the rules is really not the problem.
“I think an athlete knows what’s acceptable and what’s not,” Swofford said.