Growing up in the south, it’s no surprise that I’m a fan of ACC sports. Many people in the south have deep connections to the schools, either through their own education or simply proximity to them. Football is the most popular sport in the country, but in the ACC basketball is the main tradition. Right now, the ACC tournament is going on in Greensboro, NC, a place it has called home many times. Teams will play today and the winners will play for the championship tomorrow. And in my view, it will be the last time for the ACC.
The ACC started in the 1950s and was a core of schools that spanned from South Carolina to Maryland. Some minor additions and one subtraction occurred before it really entered the realm of dominance. By the early 90s, the ACC was at its arguable best for basketball, the golden years if you will.
But in the early 2000s the need for the conference to grow (which increases TV revenue) saw the addition of three more schools. Now the conference spanned from Miami to Boston, but it was still the Atlantic coast. Traditionalists such as myself adjusted to the new teams especially since they enhanced the football presence of the conference.
Now though, things are changing in ways too hard to keep up with. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are set to join the conference this summer. This is great for basketball, but it dilutes the excitement factor of many ACC fans getting the chance to see their team win. Even worse, Notre Dame will now join the conference in 2013 and coming along later will be Louisville. These schools aren’t on the east coast, not even close. Maryland is leaving the conference too, they were one of the founding members. The shuffling of schools may not even be over, the ACC could add or lose more.
I don’t resist change. Change can be a good thing. ACC basketball will remain one of the premier basketball conferences and they’re positioning themselves for similar success in football. But this tournament is likely the last of what was the ACC. And that’s just a little bit sad.