Duke sought to take credit for decision for shuttering ACC Tournament

acc tournamentA bullshit column makes out Duke President Vincent Price as the only adult in the room with regard to Thursday’s decision regarding the ACC Tournament.

The column portrayed Price as being the only president to tell ACC Commissioner John Swofford between a 9:30 a.m. announcement on the ACC Network from Swofford that the action would go on and the scheduled 12:30 p.m. tipoff for the first game between Florida State and Clemson to say “no” when it came to playing.

OK, so, where was courageous President Price between, say, 5 p.m. Wednesday, after the NCAA had just announced that it was making a move to hold its tournament games beginning next week in empty arenas, which the ACC confirmed shortly thereafter would be the rule for the remainder of the scheduled tournament in Greensboro beginning Thursday, and shortly after 9 p.m., when the NBA had announced that it was suspending its season, in the wake of the positive coronavirus prognosis for Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert?

Surely the brave President Price could have gotten word to Swofford anytime really between the first NCAA announcement and midnight Wednesday that Duke didn’t want to have anything to do with playing on Thursday.

Or anytime overnight.

What, you think Swofford, his top staff, the other ACC presidents, the office of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, got any sleep last night?

Swofford needed help stepping down from the podium in the press conference room at the Greensboro Coliseum after being grilled for more than an hour Thursday morning.

His voice, and the weariness on his face, betrayed a man carrying the weight of a collective decision that was not easy, no matter how easy it seems to a keyboard warrior with no accountability to anybody, interested in cheap clicks.

Walking off the floor of the Coliseum after announcing the decision to shutter the tournament, and award Florida State the ACC Championship trophy in a moving, though impromptu, ceremony that also included players from Clemson and Clemson coach Brad Brownell congratulating ‘Noles players and ACC Coach of the Year Leonard Hamilton, Swofford conceded to one reporter that the day was “the worst day of his life.”

No matter what was done in his name, you see, it was going to draw critics, either for pulling the plug too soon, for not pulling it soon enough.

I call it a decision made in his name because it wasn’t a decision that he made alone, obviously.

He was in constant communication with the presidents of the conference’s member institutions and state government staff.

It was a team decision.

It’s hard to imagine, then, that if the now-beknighted Price had indicated, at any point in the process, that Duke wasn’t going to participate in the second game on Thursday, no, sorry, we’re going forward anyway.

This is the kind of thing that is done behind closed doors with unanimity of opinion on how to proceed being the paramount goal.

The ACC couldn’t possibly, in a million years, have FSU and Clemson play at 12:30 and then have Duke forfeit at 2:30.

This isn’t even a decision.

And if it’s made overnight, all we know is that the league decided overnight against going forward with the tournament.

So, why, if you’re Duke, do you wait to make an issue of it after FSU and Clemson are in the arena, except that you’re doing it so that you can take credit for doing it, and maybe kneecap Swofford in the process?

“Only Duke’s president had the courage to stop it.”

Only Duke’s president had the gall to try to score political points with grandstanding that would make Donald Trump blush.

Story by Chris Graham

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