While the ACC exited its spring meetings without any formal recommendations regarding the Rice Commission's report on the future of college basketball, it certainly had something to say about the sport. The conference voted to propose legislation to the NCAA that would expand the tournament from 68 to 72 teams, essentially doubling the size of the First Four.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said the conference also voted to propose a package of rule changes that included moving back the 3-point line, widening the lane and resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound, but passed on the other rule changes trialed during the NIT that included moving from halves to quarters.
The expansion proposal came from the ACC coaches, who noted the number of football teams that have postseason opportunities compared to basketball.
Those were the biggest proposals out of the spring meetings after the ACC decided to leave the more epochal changes proposed by the Rice Commission to a set of NCAA working groups that will spend the summer trying to deal with various parts of the commission's mandate by August.
The ACC will also propose football legislation that creates recruiting dead periods in February and July, restricts the spring recruiting period to four weeks from six weeks and will prohibit verbal offers to prospects before Sept. 1 of their junior year. There was also considerable discussion about kickoffs and their role in the future of the sport, but without any consensus.
"We talked about how the game is changing, and how we need to preserve the game but make it safer for the players," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. "We get into it, so we get a feel for how everybody feels in the league. You've got 15 guys in the room and not everybody is going to agree with everything and that's fine, we're OK with that. But we get a feel for how everybody feels about it."
Among other topics Swofford discussed Thursday morning: -- Discussion continues about future ACC tournament sites, with nothing decided beyond 2020. Swofford said he had hoped the conference might have been able to make a decision this week.
"We did have some discussions here," he said. "I don't think it will be that long before we can pull things together." -- The ACC Network remains on track for its 2019 launch and revenue projections remain stable, especially after ESPN was able to reach a deal for carriage with New York cable provider Altice. More carriage deals will be negotiated as ESPN's current agreements expire. -- The ACC supports the NCAA's position, announced Thursday, calling for federal oversight of legalized sports gambling. -- There was considerable discussion about the NCAA's continuing evaluation of the transfer process.
"I don't think it will turn into a free-for-all," Swofford said. "I think there's support for a reasonable approach to more flexibility. We can find the right balance."
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock