ACC commissioner John Swofford to retire in 2021

Yahoo Sports

The ACC will be getting a new commissioner.

Longtime commissioner John Swofford announced Thursday that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2021 spring sports season. Swofford has been the ACC’s commissioner since 1997.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the ACC for over five decades and my respect and appreciation for those associated with the league throughout its history is immeasurable,” Swofford said in a statement. “Having been an ACC student-athlete, athletics director and commissioner has been an absolute honor. There are immediate challenges that face not only college athletics, but our entire country, and I will continue to do my very best to help guide the conference in these unprecedented times through the remainder of my tenure. [Wife] Nora and I have been planning for this to be my last year for some time and I look forward to enjoying the remarkable friendships and memories I’ve been blessed with long after I leave this chair.”

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Swofford led the ACC as it expanded from nine to 14 full-time teams throughout his tenure. The ACC added Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Boston College, Pitt and Syracuse while Maryland left the conference to join the Big Ten while Swofford was in charge.

The conference also added Notre Dame in 2012 in all sports but football. The Irish were able to keep being an independent in football with the move but entered into a scheduling agreement with the ACC for multiple football games per season against ACC opponents. The Irish play Clemson in November in what sets up to be one of the marquee games of the 2020 college football season.

Swofford also helped oversee the creation of the conference’s television network. The ACC became the fourth Power Five conference to get its own cable channel after the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12. Only the Big 12, which has a deal with ESPN’s streaming service, does not have a dedicated channel available on traditional cable and satellite television.

John Swofford is retiring at the end of the 2020-21 college sports season. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)
John Swofford is retiring at the end of the 2020-21 college sports season. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)

Change at the top of Power Five conferences

Swofford’s retirement announcement comes just over a year after Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany announced his retirement. Delany was replaced by Kevin Warren at the Big Ten as Warren became the first Black commissioner of a Power Five conference.

Swofford’s departure also means that the Pac-12’s Larry Scott will become the longest-tenured Power Five commissioner. Scott joined the Pac-12 in 2009. Current Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby became the conference’s commissioner in 2012 and Greg Sankey took over as the SEC’s commissioner in 2015.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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