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Keep the ACC office in North Carolina!

How does the old saying go….if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.

It appears that the new man in charge of the Atlantic Coast Conference is exploring the possibility of moving the league’s office in Greensboro.

Jim Phillips became the ACC Commissioner on Feb. 1. Last month, we all learned of a possible “alliance” being formed between our beloved conference along with the Big 10 (which is really 14 teams by the way, but I guess only 10 of them are “big”) and the Pac 12 (by golly they can correctly count out on the “left coast” as there are actually one dozen schools in that conference).

Now there’s even more news coming from our new Commissioner as the ACC is formally exploring whether or not to move from its original home of Greensboro, according to a story I read on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website.

“If you’re going to do an assessment, I have a responsibility to do it in a complete manner,” Phillips said in an exclusive interview with the Times-Dispatch, “and it wouldn’t be complete unless we looked at [potential relocation] as well. … Greensboro has been amazing. I’ve loved it. The community’s fantastic, the office is great, the location of the office is great. But … it can’t just be the emotional tie. It has to make a lot of sense.”

However, at least in my humble opinion, moving just for the sake of moving doesn’t make sense. Sure, I understand that the ACC of today, boasting a membership of 15 universities, isn’t the same of 68 years ago, but with those schools dotting the landscape from Boston to Miami, I would estimate that North Carolina is somewhere close to the middle. So why not keep the league office here in the Old North State?

The idea for the Atlantic Coast Conference was born during a meeting held on May 8, 1953 at Greensboro’s Sedgefield Inn. It was there that seven members of the Southern Conference decided to leave that league because of the ban on post-season football play initiated in 1951.

Clemson, Duke, Maryland North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest were the new league’s charter members. On a suggestion made by Eddie Cameron, Duke’s athletic director at the time and former head basketball coach, those university officials gathered in Greensboro on that day in May 1953 named the league the Atlantic Coast Conference.

By December of 1953, the ACC grew to eight schools thanks to Virginia joining the conference.

Since that time we’ve lost South Carolina (to the Southeastern Conference in 1971) and Maryland (who left in 2014 to join the Big 10…plus four). But we’ve added more than we’ve lost….Georgia Tech sent its Rambling Wreck our way on 1979; Florida State came onboard in 1991; the University of Miami and Virginia Tech both signed up in 2004; Boston College followed in 2005; Syracuse, Pitt, and Notre Dame joined in 2013; and the University of Louisville moved over in 2014.

Along the way our conference has witnessed league championships being held at venues in other states, but the Greensboro Coliseum still holds near and dear to our hearts as to where the most prestigious basketball tournament is traditionally held.

So why is there consideration being given to look elsewhere for a league office? Is there a link to this new alliance between the ACC, Big 10…plus four, and Pac 12? Will those three conferences merge with a league office in the geographical center….which, according to Google, is somewhere near Belle Fourche, South Dakota (population of 5,594).

Before we go moving the ACC’s office to a town that started with a barn and a saloon as part of a stagecoach line, let me stop right here and offer my suggestion to league officials for their possible new home.

I nominate Woodland. Yep, Woodland…that Northampton County town with no stoplights and its streets bearing the names of trees.

It’s quiet, it’s peaceful and its citizens are friendly. The population is less than 800, so there won’t be any traffic jams for the employees of the league office to encounter as they travel to and from work.

Plus, the Woodland firemen are building a new station. That means there are construction crews already in town. I’m sure they can put together a new office fairly quickly if needed.

ACC league office staff can dine weekdays at the Grapevine Café…open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or, if they are the adventurous types, they can make the short drive over to Potecasi for a pizza at Salamis; or travel to Rich Square to dine at Du Dobbs, China King, or the world famous Claudine’s Restaurant.

Think of the boost in business that my good friend Troy Smith Jr. at TD Sports in Rich Square will experience with his athletic apparel, equipment, and trophies.

Ditto for Valley Pine Country Club in nearby Lasker. They can host the ACC Golf Tournament as well as league meetings and the like.

I’m certain there’s a big parcel of land someone in Woodland wants to sell. Google Maps is showing a good sized open lot located between North Sycamore Street and NC 35. That’s roughly a three block walk to the Grapevine Café!!

League officials could also look for land in the peaceful countryside just outside of town. There’s plenty to choose from…ample space in the community of George on the south side or in the vicinity of Menola Road on the north end.

This move would be a “win-win” for all involved as it keeps the ACC league office in North Carolina while boosting the economy of Northampton County.

And the biggest reason for considering moving the ACC league’s office to Woodland….it’s closer to the Atlantic coast!!

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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