ACC HEADQUARTERS MOVING IN 2023 TO CHARLOTTE
The ACC announced Tuesday that it's official: they're moving their headquarters to Charlotte.
It's an interesting decision. Charlotte is about 90 minutes or so southwest of Greensboro, if you drive it on I-85. . It means the four ACC schools in North Carolina (UNC, NCST, Duke and Wake Forest) might not have the Greensboro Coliseum practically in their backyard anymore for the ACC women's basketball tournament. Make no mistake about it, if one of those four schools wasn't playing in a particular session (Weds, Thurs or Fri)...the arena was a ghost town, unless Louisville was playing. And, even when the Cards were on the court, it was about half Cardinals fans and the other half from all the other schools in the ACC to boo the Cards.
And, the, there was the "school-kids game" usually on Weds or Thurs and typically held when the #8 and #9 seeds met. It was loud and the kids screamed equally for each team, whether it was Wake or FSU. Boston College or UNC. Cotton candy and spilled soft drinks were the winner in that time-slot.
The actual headquarters move won't mean a whole lot to the northern members of the ACC (Boston College, Syracuse...or even Louisville) except that the Charlotte airport is considerably larger than the ones in Greensboro and Winston Salem. The Greensboro airport isn't too bad, they have Delta, American Airlines, United, Frontier and Allegiant, but it was tricky sometimes in getting a flight to Louisville out of there...and you usually had to go through Charlotte to get the connecting flight to Greensboro or Winston Salem. I can only imagine what you had to go through if you were flying in from Boston or Tallahassee.
The ushers and support staff were always nice in Greensboro, though and the food and beverage folks put out three nice meals most days.
Drive-wise, out of Louisville it's about an eight-hour drive to get to either. The big difference is not taking I-64 and the West Virginia Turnpike and I-40 to get to Charlotte, it's I-75 and I-40. Having driven the West Virginia Turnpike in sub zero conditions and ice-covered roads, I seriously wondered if I'd be found by spring if I slid off the road. Plus, it's a toll road. But, you avoid Nashville, which can get jammed up for hours in traffic at times.
They do have the Spectrum Center in Charlotte for hoops, it holds about 20,000 and the Hornets make their home there. (No, not the flying pest...the Charlotte Hornets NBA team). If WBB in the ACC is going to continue to just use one facility each year, year-after-year, Spectrum's a pretty good one.
The "Big Four" around Greensboro (UNC, NCST, Wake and Duke) will probably lament that they have to travel more than a half-hour to play in the ACC women's tournament. Life is tough, isn't it? I've heard that the ACC WBB Tournament may move around eventually. The five schools left from the original seven conference members won't like that, except for Clemson probably...they haven't been good in WBB in a long time.
And the rest of the women's sports get spread around a lot already, anyway. Rowing, Field Hockey, Soccer, Softball and the rest aren't always based in one particulaar city and certainly not in Greensboro.
It came down to moving to Charlotte, or Orlando or staying in Greensboro. The ACC stayed in North Carolina because the league can now obtain $15 million in funds from the state, which were earmarked in the latest budget for a "college sports employer" for building a new faciity in the state.
Money talks. .
And then, there was the one year (2017) at Coastal Carolina in Conway, SC for the ACC WBB Tournament. Something about bathroom laws in North Carolina caused the one year move. Honestly, I hated it in Conway. The motel I stayed in, in Conway, had me scared every night with the drug traffic and prostitutes in the parking lot. I probably should have opted to stay in Myrtle Beach like the teams mostly did. And, the drive was longer than Greensboro by about three hours.
But, it's a move by the ACC that may not mean a thing five or ten years from now. Who knows if there will be an ACC or any conference alignments like we currently know them in five to ten years?
You roll with the changes and take your chances. I've seen Louisville in the Missouri Valley Conference, Big East, AAC, Metro, C-USA and probably a few I've forgotten since I've been a Louisville fan. Next?
Nothing surprises me, anymore. And, one thing is for sure. Louisville was never in the running for the new ACC headquarters home.
I haven't decided whether I'll head to Greensboro one last time in the spring for the 2023 ACC Tournament. We'll see how I'm feeling at the time and what seed the Cards are.