NEW YORK — The Atlantic Coast Conference welcomed Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh by having an event right in the heart of Manhattan. Commissioner John Swofford knows it’s the first of many to come in the area.
At the Nasdaq Market in Times Square, Swofford and the ACC rolled out the red carpet for its new northeast members in a press conference Monday afternoon. The media event came less than a week after the ACC announced a partnership with the Pinstripe Bowl, which is played in the Bronx.
“Now that Syracuse (Notre Dame and Pittsburgh are) a part of our league, a number of our schools have significant alumni numbers in and around this city,” Swofford said. “It’s the media capital of the world. We would be remiss if we didn’t take advantage of making sure that our presence in New York wasn’t known.”
With ACC football’s presence in New York secured, the next logical step would be to do the same for basketball by moving the ACC basketball tournament from Greensboro, N.C., up to the Big Apple.
“It’s been talked about,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “The league will have to figure out what the best solution going forward for the tournament.”
Boeheim certainly liked the idea, citing how having the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden helped propel the league to prominence.
The ACC has an opportunity to do something similar. With 2013 NCAA champion Louisville joining next year, the ACC could consistently send double-digit teams to the NCAA tournament.
But even then, there’d still be something missing without New York involved.
“If you’re going to be the best basketball conference, you have to rotate through New York City,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. “It’s very fitting that we’re here today, and as (Swofford) mentioned, eventually, the ACC conference tournament will rotate through New York City.”
Still, there are obvious limitations standing in the way.
For starters, the ACC is locked into Greensboro until the 2015 season for their conference tournament. After that, the new Big East and the Atlantic 10 have the rights to use Madison Square Garden and the Barclay’s Center through 2017.
Regardless of the current logistical barriers, the prevailing feeling is that the ACC tournament will be headed to the New York City area.
“I’m confident we’ll get through here at some point,” Brey said. “Obviously, we’re in Greensboro for the next two years, but I think it’s something that’s going to have to happen given how this league has changed.”
Swofford was a little more cautious in his tone.
“It’s a little premature to talk too definitively about that,” Swofford said. “There are still what I would call venue availability questions that we don’t have answers for yet. As soon as we have those answers, the sooner our schools can make a decision.”
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