The past five months -- and, especially, the past week -- have been an unmistakable reminder of the importance of a strong, competent conference commissioner. Kevin Warren and Larry Scott staked their careers on this week's decisions to pull back on a fall football season as the rest of the Power 5 move forward.
Likewise, Bob Bowlsby and Greg Sankey are taking risks to press on (for now, at least) as Warren and Scott's leagues sit out.
The ACC's John Swofford doesn't have to make such decisions with the next 10, 20 years of his career in mind, because his career is ending. He announced on June 25 that his 24 years of service to the conference will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2020-21 athletic year.
The ACC will choose its next commissioner coming off a year in which it may or may not play football, in which it may or may not have missed two straight ACC basketball tournaments, two straight Big Dances. In which it will be just a handful of years away from the next round of TV rights negotiations.
This will be the biggest decision the conference makes in years, and they'll have the biggest array of voices to help them.
The league announced Thursday that not one, but two, search firms will help identify the next ACC commissioner.
Turnkey Search and Ventura Partners will work in conjunction with the ACC Board of Directors, the presidents and chancellors of the ACC's 15 member schools.
Turnkey's team will be lead in part by former Boston College athletics director Gene DeFilippo, and the ACC notes four additional Turnkey executives will provide assistance.
Chad Chatlos and Katy Young Staudt are the principals of Ventura's sports division.
All told, that adds up to 22 different voices that will have a say in selecting the next ACC commissioner.
Too many cooks in the kitchen, or just the right amount? We'll find out soon enough; but the one thing that is not in doubt is that the search firms will get paid.