Notre Dame announced Tuesday it is leaving the Big East a year sooner than originally anticipated for the ACC in all sports except football and hockey. This allows Notre Dame to join the ACC on July 1, 2013.
The switch was approved in a vote by Big East university presidents in the wake of a split announced last week of the league's football schools and seven other Catholic schools; that are forming their own conference, next season,which will be basketball focused with the Big East name. This allows Notre Dame to join the ACC on July 1st without paying any exit fees. Syracuse and Pittsburgh will be joining the league on July 1st as well with Louisville joining in 2014.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford recently stated, "As we look towards the future, there’s no denying that ACC basketball will continue to set even higher standards of excitement and excellence. The competition will be brutal, which is a great thing for our league and fans." Judging from Commissioner Swofford’s statement, I think we all realize that the current phase of league expansion was for the purpose of upgrading ACC basketball.
I myself will welcome Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh on July 1st with open arms. However, with those arms wide open, I have to also embrace change. No longer will the primary focus of ACC sports be centered around Tobacco Road schools and venues, especially in basketball. Although I resisted league expansion at first, I later realized that this is a great move on the league’s part, mainly because it exposes those of us on Tobacco Road to other traditional perennial powers other than Duke and UNC.
Whether you feel that league expansion is a good or bad thing, the league can’t survive without a change of mind-set by the majority of tobacco road media and fans. This is the twenty-fourth year in the 6o year history of the ACC men’s basketball tournament where the venue is the Greensboro Coliseum. This will be the home of the tournament at least until 2015. Greensboro, North Carolina is also the home office of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Within the 60 year history of the ACC tournament, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, have been host cities a combined 49 times. The league simply cannot afford to have any school in the ACC feeling like outsiders. There has to be inclusion of all and not just to some, so I would not be too surprised to see the ACC Men’s basketball tournament hosted in larger cities like Miami, NYC and even Newark, NJ after 2015.
For those of us that have no issues embracing change, we will always have great memories of the way life used to be in the ACC fresh on our minds. We can always tune into past ACC games online on The ACC Vault at www.vault.theacc.com . Let us be prepared for an even bigger and brighter future ahead for the ACC, so bring it on!
Please feel free to email Herman [email protected] also feel free to follow on twitter @babethomherman