We all knew this was inevitable, even before Boeheim started whining incessantly about Denny’s and Greensboro. Considering Wednesday’s GT-BC game could’ve been played at Page and there’d have been tickets available, this will make for an interesting viewing experience.
Pete Thamel (SI.com):
The Atlantic Coast Conference is finalizing details for a multi-year agreement to play its postseason tournament at the Barclays Center. The details are expected to be completed by the end of the month, according to multiple sources.
The ACC desires a two-year agreement that could start as early as 2017, the next uncommitted year for the ACC Tournament. (The ACC plays in Greensboro in 2015 and in Washington DC in 2016).
The ACC’s move to New York has been viewed within the conference as inevitable, as it’s expected that the league will rotate through New York and North Carolina locations after 2017. (Maryland’s departure to the Big Ten makes Washington DC a less natural place to hold the tournament.)
The ACC has no chance to move to Madison Square Garden in the immediate future, as MSG has a deal signed with the Big East through 2026. Multiple sources described that contract as “air tight.” A source with direct knowledge of the contract said that Joseph M. Leccese, the Big East’s lawyer with prominent firm Proskauer Rose, spent an inordinate amount of time making sure that MSG couldn’t get out of the deal with the Big East. (The Garden is considered the Big East’s best asset.)
That left the ACC with the Barclays Center as its top option to give the league a presence in New York with its conference tournament. (The Barclays Center has also been in conversations with the Big Ten). While The Garden has more history and a Manhattan location, multiple ACC administrators stressed that they will not have an inferior venue.
“It wasn’t Madison Square Garden or else,” said an official at an ACC school. “People are enthralled with the Barclays Center. If The Garden is locked up, so be it. I don’t think it’s a warm up act. It’s a hell of a facility.”
While the ACC’s traditional roots are on Tobacco Road, the league’s members came to a decision that expanding its reach to bigger markets is a must. The ACC is balancing its past and future by honoring its North Carolina roots by holding the tournament there and rotating it through New York as a sign of its expansion and increased national presence.
John Swofford hinted at this, among other items, in his comments on 99.9 Wednesday. A few comments of note (WRAL):
Conference leaders are also looking at the future of the tournament as a way to maximize exposure. After five straight years in Greensboro, the games will be played in Washington, D.C., in 2016. After that, the location is yet to be determined.
“We will continue some kind of rotation in the future,” said Swofford. “We have a different footprint now, so moving to the north, like New York, is probably in the future. They have amazing facilities there, but it depends on their availabilities.”
Swofford said it’s a good time for the ACC to take a step back and evaluate some things. The new members give the league a lot of new opportunities.
“Moving the championship game back to Saturday night would be back to the future for the ACC,” said Swofford. “We moved to Sunday afternoon in the 80s for television reasons, but time changes, and now Saturday is a better TV moment.”
Swofford and ACC leaders are also taking advantage of a transitional moment to anticipate changes to the football schedule.
They recently announced a deal to keep the ACC Football Championship in Charlotte for the next 6 years.
The ACC is moving to seek an exception to the NCAA rule that requires a conference to have 12 teams and two divisions to hold a football title game. The ACC would prefer to set their own standard of whether and how to feed a football championship game.
“We’ll see if they accept it,” Swofford said. “It doesn’t mean we would change our system, but we would have a chance to decide our own schedule.”
“We don’t want to pay athletes because that would be a disaster,” said Swofford. “We just want to do more for the athletes like giving them better medical care or give their parents the opportunity to come to championship games.”