news the money isnt flowing which is why the acc isnt what it was

The money isn’t flowing: Which is why the ACC isn’t what it was, and may never be again

acc tournament wednesday
The gathering at the Greensboro Coliseum a few minutes before tipoff of the Syracuse-Wake Forest game. Photo: Chris Graham/AFP

The ACC isn’t falling behind; it’s already fallen behind. One way to tell: no gifts for the media covering the ACC Tournament.

Yes, this is petty, but it’s something.

Every year at check-in at the media table, there’s been … something there for us.

I have a great ACC Tournament bookbag that I carry my computer in from 2019.

Another ACC Tournament briefcase from maybe 2014, not sure on the year.

The 2015 gift was a fleece, which came in handy, because for some reason, the Greensboro Coliseum was freezing cold all week that year.

This year: bupkis.

Not complaining, they’re still feeding us between games, which is nice, since we’re here all day, and it’s not the box food (comes in a box, tastes like the box) that we’ve been getting at UVA games the past few years.

It’s just, what we’re seeing here – including the multiple emails a day about how there are tickets still available, which would have been unfathomable even just a couple of years ago – is a sign that there isn’t as much oomph here as there was in years past.

There were still rooms to be had in the official ACC hotel as late as Sunday – the person on the phone from the hotel said demand for rooms was at an all-time low.

It’s not a coincidence that we’ve got exactly three NCAA Tournament locks as we make our way into the ACC Tournament’s second day.

As recently as four years ago, we had three #1 national seeds.

And if things go wrong today – things going wrong would be Pitt, UNC and NC State all losing – we might be stuck with just Miami, UVA and Duke going to the Big Dance.

We haven’t had a team (Clemson) in the College Football Playoff either of the past two seasons.

Clemson and Florida State are banging the drum again about how they’re finding it hard to compete in football with the paltry sums the ACC gets from its contract with ESPN, pitted up against the huge money ESPN is paying the SEC, and Fox is giving to the Big Ten.

Not that they’re able to do anything about it. The ACC schools, for better or worse, almost certainly for worse, are stuck with each other through 2036 because of their agreement from back in 2016 to grant their media rights to the conference.

For all the talk about challenging the grants in court, that’s a non-starter, as is the idea that the likes of Clemson, FSU, North Carolina and Virginia could just buy their way out of their grants.

None of them have $500 million laying around doing nothing, is the reason why there.

Nope, we’re in this together, this being what feels like a toilet that has been flushed, the water swirling around, leaving the bowl, slowly, until it’s all gone, us going down with it.

The food here this week, at least, is … chef’s kiss … really good.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

In addition to being the editor of Augusta Free Press, I've written seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For my commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, Want to reach me? Try [email protected].

Latest News


#8 Virginia opens Disharoon Park homestand with 8-3 win over High Point

mike hollins uva football

Mike Hollins back at UVA practice: ‘It is literally a miracle that I’m here today’

Mike Hollins spent 20 minutes taking questions from the media on Tuesday, his first extended Q&A since the tragic events of Nov. 13 that took the lives of teammates Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.

Shaun Alexanderlane Hiner

Bedford County authorities searching for Blue Ridge teen missing since Monday

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a 16-year-old.

alycia cooper

National comedian Alycia Cooper brings short film to Vinegar Hill Theatre

Virginia Beach oceanfront concert

Virginia Beach concert series announces first six performances


Podcast: Joey Logano wins in Atlanta, plus the latest on Jimmie Johnson

ncaa tournament

Sweet 16 Thursday Preview: More upsets in the offing in East, West regions?