ACC Commissioner discusses NIL, NCAA future, Transfers

Jim Phillips also says working to get ACC Network into more homes
ACC football trophy display
Photo credit Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – New ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips addressed a number of topics top of mind within the conference and throughout college athletics during the first day of ACC Football Media Days.

NIL (Name Image Likeness)

“The success stories are many,” Phillips said Wednesday.  “We are seeing all of it around the country and I think it makes all of us feel a sense of gratification that we can do this thing.  We have some real challenges ahead if we don’t get national legislation.”

·       Need a national standard, if not will cause a major disruption
·       Need to have help on anti-trust, can’t sustain constant litigation to the enterprise of college athletics
·       What can we do for to help our student-athletes once they leave school from a medical standpoint? Can we provide some additional medical care for them? Need uniformity among Division One schools
·       Can we mandate an opportunity for all student-athletes to come back to school
·       It’s can’t be a recruiting advantage and the equity from those resources have to be equally distributed. Noting there is unevenness between states.

NCAA future

“This is the right time to have a complete holistic review of the NCAA,” Phillips said. “Leadership, structure, what do we want to do moving forward. No predetermined outcomes, let’s take a look.”

·       Do we have the right governances’ structure?
·       Is a NCAA council the right structure?
·       Timeliness and fairness in the system

Acknowledges that the NCAA has also done a lot of great things and continues to do some good work.

“This isn’t dumped on Indianapolis,” Phillips said.  “I think we all have the fingerprints on the responsibility we have as leaders whether its commissioners or athletic directors or presidents.  President Emmert has called for a recalibration of the NCAA.  I think we should take him up on that opportunity and let’s work collaboratively.

ACC Network access

Phillips said he had discussions with ESPN about distribution and getting it wider.  Says they have a great plan.  Understands the frustrations of the school and fans, saying they can’t be the conference they need to be until they get those issues taken care of.”

Transfer portal

“It’s likened to a game of musical chairs,” Phillips said.  “That’s what worries me is the music stops and there are not enough chairs, there are not enough seats, there’s not enough scholarships for those in the portal.”

“The freedom of movement won out on that decision.  I completely agree with that.  As a former coach, I know how difficult that can be when it comes to rosters, roster management, life-lessons when things get tough you can’t just bounce out.  We are working through it.”

“I feel the coach’s frustration.  It’s real. But in the end it was the right thing to do for our student-athletes.”

College Football Playoff expansion

Coaches will get a presentation on Wednesday from the NCAA, saying there are positives and negatives.  He said it is important to talk to the student-athletes.  Get a feel and read for what they are thinking about expanding it to 12 teams.

“We have to be open-minded to it,” Phillips said.  “Doesn’t mean we will support it.”

COVID-19 vaccinations

He said over half of the ACC group is above the 85% threshold of students vaccinated and with student-athletes its higher.  Waiting a couple of more weeks before they decide if teams will have to forfeit games due to COVID-19 positive tests.

“I believe in vaccinations,” Phillips said.  “It’s about us educating our student-athletes.”

Notre Dame

“I think we all got a glimpse of what it would be like to have Notre Dame in the conference this last fall,” Phillips said.  “That was a really beautiful and beneficial relationship to both Notre Dame and the ACC.  They had a chance to play a fantastic schedule.  They had a chance to vie for a national championship and compete in the CFP.  We have a real-life example of what that would look like.”

“Who knows where the future is going to go, but you always have to be ready to add.  Notre Dame, contractually, if they were to add a conference, it would be the ACC.”

“We will see where this goes.”