The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) started the process of moving its headquarters out of its home in Greensboro, North Carolina last month. Greensboro has served as the conference headquarters home since its founding in 1953.
ACC commissioner Jim Phillips supported the appraisal, and retained the services of a pair of consulting firms to explore what he dubs as an “a holistic and transparent review" of the league’s structure. This move comes several months after Phillips was selected as the new conference commissioner.
“If you’re going to do an assessment, I have a responsibility to do it in a complete manner,” Phillips said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “And it wouldn’t be complete unless we looked at [potential relocation] as well."
The headquarter selection process has moved onto the next stage of evaluating potential cities based on a select criteria:
- Be located within the Eastern Standard Time zone
- Population size with positive growth trends
- Access to a large hub airport with effective access to and from all ACC member schools
- Anticipated benefit to the overall ACC brand
- Financial considerations related to operational expenses
Phillips later backed up this sentiment.
“Should [conference headquarters] be aligned with media opportunities?” he said in the Times-Dispatch interview. “Should it be aligned with Fortune 100, 200, 500 companies? Should it be aligned with corporate sponsorship opportunities? Should it be aligned with a city that could host championships or does host championships?"
The ACC's rise can be traced back to North Carolina. Without the basketball success and national branding of Duke and UNC, the ACC wouldn't have nearly as much prestige it does today.
That is why the ACC should stay in North Carolina. One solution could be the Triangle — the unofficial capital of the ACC with the trifecta of Duke, UNC and N.C. State. Also, the area's rapid development could be attractive to the conference looking to settle in an area of heavy business presence.
Perhaps an even more practical solution would be Charlotte. The area would give the conference the metropolitan accessibility Phillips talked about, while keeping the conference close to its roots.
Charlotte city officials have expressed interest in a potential ACC move.
“Charlotte is already a great city for the ACC and their fans because of our airport, transit system, hotel, hospitality scene and the many fun experience that are available in our city," City of Charlotte spokesman Cory Burkarth said in an email to The Charlotte Observer. "We want the ACC to remain, in North Carolina, if the conference decides to leave Greensboro, then we absolutely want the ACC headquarters to come to Charlotte and stay in our great state."
Gov. Roy Cooper's echoed this sentiment in an email to The News & Observer.
“The ACC has a storied history and deep roots in North Carolina, and the Governor believes that this great conference should continue to make its home in our state for years to come," Mary Scott Winstead, Cooper’s deputy communications director, wrote.
Gov. Cooper is right: the ACC does have a storied history in North Carolina. They should not abandon their roots. The ACC doesn’t belong in New York or Boston — it belongs in the heart of ACC country, between Coral Gables to Chestnut Hill. The ACC belongs in North Carolina.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.