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ACC TOURNEY VENTURES OFF TOBACCO ROAD, TO HEAD OUT OF NC
Published June 26, 2000
The state of NC is losing its "near-monopoly" on hosting the ACC men's basketball tournament after faculty representatives from the conference's nine member schools awarded the event to new sites in Atlanta, Washington, DC and Tampa, according to Whitmire & Doyel in a front-page report in the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Between 2005 and 2010, the tournament will visit Greensboro (Greensboro Coliseum) twice and DC (MCI Center), Tampa (Ice Palace), Charlotte and Atlanta (Georgia Dome) once each. The new locations represent a "huge break from tradition," as the last 11 ACC tournaments -- and 41 of the last 47 -- have been held in NC. ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that the conference's intent was to "extend" its reach: "We wanted to ... maintain our base in [NC]. ... Also we felt it was important for the league's future to give the tournament an opportunity to spread its tentacles throughout the geographic footprint of the league." But Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory called the ACC's decision to venture outside the state a "mistake" and said, "There's very little loyalty." Whitmire & Doyel noted that the "biggest question mark" of the new locations is Tampa, which is a city "without a basketball tradition that is a five-hour drive from" FL State Univ., the nearest ACC school (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/24). Also in Charlotte, Scott Fowler wrote that the ACC awarded its 2005-2010 tournaments "with an eye toward demographics rather than tradition." Fowler called it a "travesty" that the event will soon be held outside NC "at least" 50-60% of the time (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/24). In Raleigh, A. Sherrod Blakely wrote that the conference "is trying to raise its profile" in markets such as FL. Blakely: "That state, with its massive television audience, is considered a key market for the ACC" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/24). In Tampa, Martin Fennelly: "The ACC tournament in Florida? To purists, it's like putting the Hope Diamond in a pawn shop window. What's next: Dean Smith judges a bikini contest?" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/24).