Fire John Swofford now. I can’t imagine the rest of the ACC having much confidence in him at this point. Perhaps a firing and a "coming together moment" with the other conferene members can buy the ACC an extra year before schools start bolting or even save the conference completely.
As I see it, the ACC needs to re-evaluate some of their long standing bi-laws, namely equal revenue sharing and partial membership….at least until this foolish contract expires.
The ACC is also a some what difficult parner as far as bowls are concerned. It’s the reason why the Gator bowl dropped the ACC. The problem arises is because bowl executives want to choose certain schools out of the ACC because the fans travel well, they draw more eyes, etc. To do bussiness with the ACC, these bowl executives some times have to take teams they really do not want. For example: The CFA, Music City and Champs bowl has to take the conference champ runner up at least once every 4 years. Boston College was the runner up twice, you can only guess what the Champs and Music City bowls were thinking when they were forced to take them.
And with the ACC stuck with this lousey deal for the long haul, the conference needs to figure out how to save money and generate additional revenue to compensate for the weak contract.
I would start by re-aligning the divisions North and South with a few exceptions if a certain school seems to fit better. Some of the inconsequential, existing rivalries may need to be broken up (UVA vs Duke, UNC vs Duke), but it will save money traveling and give fans some games that will be more meaningful within the region.
Schools like Duke, Wake Forest and BC with their tiny stadiums and small fan base need to think about playing VT, Clemson and FSU on a "neutral site" when it’s their turn to be the home team. I will give you an example how it was done before: In 1999 Duke played their home game against FSU in Jacksonville, FL in front of 70,000 or more. You can see how if the gate revenue is divided equally, 70,000 tickets sold is > than 25,0000 tickets sold.
All schools should be able to keep a bigger chunk of their post season revenue. Of course FSU, Clemson, VT are going to get invited to the better paying bowls. Schools who missed the post season in that sport for that year get none of the share. This will encourage schools to invest in their athletic programs rather than being content to being a welfare recipient. This is basically the extent of unequal revenue sharing.
The ACC headquarters also takes a (will be) 1/15 share of all conference revenue. Time for most of this money to go back to the schools athletic department.
The ACC should think about partial membership. Take Navy in football and Georgetown for everything else, combined you have a pretty solid addition. You can probably figure out another Franknstein member with some imagination. Most importantly it opens up another contract negotiation with ESPN, perhaps the ACC can trade less exposure for more money, get back to 8 football games, 16 basketball games (if it is beneficial).
Then there is a matter of cutting off some dead weight. It may be time to cut off Wake Forest and Boston College from the ACC tit. I would give until the next "look-in" clause under the new ACC structure that I outlined to see if they are pulling their weight in revenue stream, if not then bye-bye, 1 or 2 less mouths to feed.