ACC Chief Urges Auburn Boycott
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference wants his nine schools to boycott Auburn in every sport as punishment for canceling a Sept. 2 football game against Florida State.
In a letter to Auburn athletic director David Housel, ACC commissioner John Swofford called it ``absolutely reprehensible that a university the stature of Auburn would ever consider canceling a contracted football game that has been scheduled for national television less than seven months prior to kickoff.″
The Seminoles are scrambling to find a new opponent.
Housel, reached at his home late Monday night, said he ``would have no comment″ on the memo. Auburn is a member of the Southeastern Conference.
SEC commissioner Roy Kramer said Monday night he was unaware of Swofford’s memo and had no comment on it.
``If this is the way Auburn University is going to conduct its business, I feel it is my obligation as conference commissioner to ask all of our member institutions to seriously evaluate whether it makes sense to schedule Auburn in any sport,″ Swofford wrote.
The Orlando Sentinel obtained a copy of Swofford’s letter.
At least one school, Clemson, has future football games scheduled with Auburn. The schools hold contracts for four games from 2005 through 2008.
Clemson associate athletic director Dwight Rainey said Sunday he didn’t foresee the series being dropped, ``but there may be some slight changes.″
Rainey said Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was supposed to meet with Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville during a trip last week.
Bowden’s brother, Terry, resigned as Auburn coach in the middle of last season. Last week, Auburn bought out its game next season with Florida State and its coach, Bobby Bowden, Tommy and Terry’s father.
``This is not a Tommy Bowden thing, it’s a Clemson-Auburn thing,″ Rainey said in Monday’s The Greenville News. ``Are we against playing Auburn? No, we’re not.″
Rainey said it may take six months to a year to resolve any Clemson concerns.
FSU is scheduled to return a basketball game to Auburn next year, and Seminoles coach Steve Robinson indicated last week he planned to do so.
Swofford, who express-mailed the letter to Housel before Auburn made a final decision on canceling the game, said the ACC will demand an additional $850,000 _ the amount the league will lose if the Seminoles are unable to find an opponent suitable for ESPN.
``We just cannot conduct business this way,″ Swofford wrote. ``It damages the entire enterprise of intercollegiate athletics. It is simply wrong.″
Housel said they had received the letter before making a decision but did not elaborate.
Meanwhile Monday, FSU athletic director Dave Hart made the first of a series of phone calls to conferences and schools across the country, searching for an opponent. Pickings are slim.
Officials from eight major conferences _ SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, Big East, Mid-American, WAC and Conference USA _ said all their teams’ schedules were completed.
``It’s very difficult,″ said Hart, adding that FSU’s Thursday night slot on ESPN was all but dead. ``Because of the calendar ... it goes without saying we’re very short on time. We’re up against it.″