Swofford: ACC to revisit TV with ESPN


Now that Pittsburgh and Syracuse are the newest members of the ACC, the conference has decided to begin the process of revisiting their television deal with ESPN. The current contract, a 12-year deal, $1.86 billion exclusive rights contract for football and men’s basketball, can be renegotiated in the event of expansion.

ACC commissioner John Swofford wouldn’t say how much the new deal would be worth, but the additions of Pitt and Syracuse by 2013 (unless an earlier exit is agreed upon) could place it well above the roughly $155 million annually the conference receives now.

My only goal would be the preference of sooner rather than later,” Swofford told the Associated Press. “We’re negotiating with a current partner that we know well and are already well-engaged with.”

The benefit of expansion is that many conferences, if not just about all, have provisions in their TV rights contracts that allow the two parties to revisit the terms of the agreement if the conference grows. Likewise, a deal can be nullified if a conference loses too many members and/or its attractiveness. This was the issue the Big 12 was facing if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State left for the Pac-12, and why Baylor was refusing to waive their right to litigation when Texas A&M appeared on their way to the SEC in August.

Baylor didn’t have much of a case to prove the departure of A&M would cause the Big 12 to lose its TV contract with ABC/ESPN and FOX, but that’s the danger of losing valuable conference members.

Conference realignment, more than anything, is about long-term financial growth and stability. And, when a conference expands, new members need to provide value — whether in television sets or brand recognition — so it can successfully revisit its TV contract with distributors.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.