Like every other conference tournament and even the NCAA Tournaments for both the men’s and women’s games, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced a few minutes before the first game was set to tip today that the rest of the ACC Tournament had been canceled. The announcement came after it was decided Wednesday night that the tournament would be finished without fans, in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Later in the day the NCAA released a statement canceling all championships for the rest of the academic year:
Florida State was declared as the de facto champion after winning the regular season title.
The Greensboro Coliseum also hosted the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament last week, and was set to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament next weekend before the tournament was canceled. The cancellation likely means millions of dollars in lost revenue for the city.
One of the questions from all of this though is what is next for Greensboro with regards to the ACC Tournament? The Coliseum was hosting the tournament for the first time since 2015, as the ACC has increasingly explored other venues in recent years as the conference has expanded.
The ACC Tournament is set to return to Washington DC’s Capital One Arena, where it was held in 2016, in 2021 and to Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center, where it was held in 2017 and 2018, in 2022. The tournament was held in Charlotte’s Spectrum Center in 2019.
Venues beyond 2022 have not yet been set, but there has been a lot of speculation that the conference would prefer to be in bigger markets and perhaps cater more to its expanded footprint. The tournament could look elsewhere, or it could simply go to a three year rotation between Washington DC, Brooklyn, and Charlotte.
But Greensboro is the ACC’s home. The headquarters are in Greensboro, the ACC Hall of Champions is in Greensboro, and the heart of the ACC is in Greensboro. Some of the greatest moments in ACC history (including “The Crossover” and “The Shot” by Randolph Childress in the 1995 ACC Tournament) have all taken place in the Greensboro Coliseum.
When the tournament is in a big city like Brooklyn it is just another event among the hustle and bustle of the big city. In DC, it doesn't really even have a true “home team” now that Maryland is no longer in the conference. And in Charlotte, while it’s still in North Carolina, it’s just not the same.
In Greensboro, the tournament is THE event in the Piedmont Triad and it is called “Tournament Town” for a reason. You won't find the same hospitality elsewhere. You won't find the level of embrace by the entire community. And you won't find four fanbases within an hour that can pack the arena (ignore Wake’s struggles for now) each and every night when the tournament is held anywhere else. No other venue is located on the heart of Tobacco Road.
They just don't build arenas like the Greensboro Coliseum anymore, and you just don't see any city that does the tournament the same way that Greensboro does.
But even if the ACC decides to abandon its home for bigger cities and brighter lights with perhaps more exposure, you simply can't send Greensboro out this way. THE home and the best host for the tournament deserves (at least) one last chance to host the full tournament with a house full of fans given the opportunity to attend every game from the first round to the championship game.
The Greensboro Coliseum used the slogan “fans first” and every experience I have had has been nothing but positive and truly attempts to put the fans first in everything they do.
For the ACC, the Greensboro Coliseum is basketball Mecca, and it deserves to shine brightly one last time.
And while I’m at it, I’m biased being from the Triad, but Greensboro should continue to be in the regular rotation. The ACC would be making a huge mistake not bringing the tournament to its one true home every four or five years.
So please, Commissioner Swofford, ACC athletic directors, ACC presidents, and ACC fans, give the Greensboro Coliseum at least one more full run at hosting the ACC Tournament. I can promise you won't be disappointed.