Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Swofford, ACC should get more involved with domestic violence issues


Despite the backdrop of two incidents of alleged domestic violence against women by Florida State football players, ACC commissioner John Swofford said Monday he didn't feel the need to act like "Big Brother" and will continue to allow each school to handle cases individually.

"The league traditionally does not get involved in suspensions not related to athletics," Swofford said Monday.

The league might want to consider opening its eyes and widening its views on some things. The SEC recently passed a rule that prohibits member schools from accepting a transfer with a history of domestic violence. It's an unfortunate needed step in today's world.

Florida State had two players arrested and charged with battery against women on consecutive days last month. Running back Dalvin Cook allegedly punched a woman in the face several times on a bar on June 23 and has been suspended indefinitely, pending an investigation. Cooks denies the charges. Quarterback De'Andre Johnson punched a woman in a Tallahassee club and also been charged. He was kicked off the team. One obvious difference in the two cases: There was surveillance video of the incident and it went viral on the internet.

This comes after former Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston was frequently in the news for the wrong reasons, including an alleged sexual assault incident. The Tallahassee police department never filed charges.

Swofford said the ACC remains comfortable allowing schools to police themselves in these situations. "We've got a lot of confidence in our presidents and athletic directors that they will deal with our situations individually. ... Where our conference steps in is not in off-the-field issues. Those are issues out of context with the ACC policy.  Our institutions have very appropriate mechanisms on their own campuses to address those situation. If I felt that weren't the case, I'd pick up the phone and have a conversation."

The recent incidents at Florida State prompted president John Thrasher to address the team's players about conduct. Swofford said following Monday's news conference that he believes Thrasher has taken the right steps to remedy the situation.

"I called president Thrasher -- I actually talked to him as he was riding over to address the team," Swofford said. "I thought his statement was very good, very strong ... and I told president Thrasher I appreciate the leadership that you’re showing and applaud you talking directly to the team.

"It’s not what you want to read from any of your schools. Young people are going to make some mistakes and you hope they’re not of the magnitude that has huge ramifications for them or their program. But when these situations take place, what’s important to me and this league is that the institutions deal with them when they happen."

When asked if he concerned because FSU is such high-profile conference member, Swofford said, "It’s going to be concerning for me wherever that occurs. Whether it’s a high-profile program or one with a little lower profile, it’s not what you want."


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.