Coach K had a sit-down with the media and as usual a lot of good stuff came out of it, including a riff on how the ACC is lousy at promotion:
"Over the years, what I’ve found is we least promote our league. Our league is not promoted very well. We should figure out how the Big Ten does it. They’re really good, don’t get me wrong. They’re still saying it’s great, and they’re not saying anything about us.
"We have the No. 1 team in the country (Syracuse). We have Virginia, who is having a hell of a year. I don’t know, I think ours matches up with anybody. We just have 15. That’s a lot. Someone is going to lose."
There are a lot of things the ACC could do. The ACC-Big Ten Challenge is useful, but it's just a replacement for the Big East-ACC Challenge, and the whole idea is now decades old.
But clearly, the criticism is on target. There's a lot the conference could do. Where's the presence on social media? Where's the innovation? Our experience with the ACC when the Web first became a presence is instructive.
Rather than seeing a new opportunity, rather than having the imagination to see a vast new way to approach a worldwide audience, the conference instead was...indifferent at best and hostile at worst.
We're not talking about DBR, either. In other gigs, with credentialed organizations, we witnessed as the conference repeatedly blew chances to establish a strong, early presence on the Web.
We can still remember calling the ACC's Brian Morrison to ask for help getting basketball stats posted online and hearing him say on the phone "I don't have time for this shit."
That shit, of course, was the future calling, and Morrison, now the ACC's Associate Commissioner for Media Relations, didn't have the time, much less imagination to embrace it.
Imagine if he had. Imagine if he'd just pawned it off on an intern.
Imagine, in retrospect, what might have happened had the ACC embraced the Web in the early 1990s.
Imagine if the conference had had the vision and patience to be the first conference to really run with it.
What, even today, does the ACC have? The Vault is a cool feature, but is it even promoted? Does the ACC use ESPN to push it? And even so, it's looking backwards not forwards.
How often have you visited TheACC.com? What's the point? There's nothing distinct there, there's nothing imaginative. Nothing sets it apart.
And there's plenty to work with. You have marketable rivalries, marketable coaches, players and venues. Did you see anything from the ACC on the new venues at Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame? Maybe you did; we didn't. If so, was it memorable? Was it in any sense innovative?
Did you get to know the new players from the new teams via the conference Web site? Maybe players and fans skyping? No? Maybe Lamar Patterson providing a tour of his gym or Pitt's campus? Not that either?
Did anyone talk about it? Has anyone said, wow, you need to head over to TheACC.com because it's got amazing stuff? Well there you go then.
Although Commissioner John Swofford is clearly thinking differently, the rest of the conference is deeply, profoundly conservative in an era of roiling change. And that's a problem. Certainly you have a lot of risk, but you have even more opportunities, and they're being passed up.
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