ACC commissioner: Move from Greensboro not a certainty

Jim Phillips said that while the league is exploring the possibility of moving its headquarters out of its traditional location, no other cities have been contacted

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips addresses the media Tuesday during the league's Basketball Tipoff media event. (Matt Kelley / AP Photo)

CHARLOTTE — Many of the ACC’s most time-honored traditions have fallen by the wayside since the conference began expanding to its current 15-school membership.

And the trend only figures to continue.

Among the next to go could be the ACC’s association with Greensboro, the municipality in which the league was founded at Sedgefield Country Club in 1953 and continues to serve as the conference’s headquarters.

It was reported last month that the conference, led by new commissioner Jim Phillips, has begun exploring the possibility of moving its offices out of the Gate City — perhaps to a larger transportation hub such as Charlotte.

While such a move might eventually be in the works, Phillips said Tuesday that it’s not something that will happen anytime soon.

“I have not had one conversation with any city,” Phillips said Tuesday during his semi-annual Commissioner’s Forum at the ACC’s Basketball Tipoff media event. “I have not and that’s the gospel. There have been inquiries and the rest of that. I think that taints a process. That’s unfair. We need to do this thing, again, very transparently.”

The concept of potentially moving the league out of Greensboro is hardly a new one.

It was being discussed internally long before Phillips was named as John Swofford’s replacement last December. The new commissioner decided to actively pursue the possibility of a venue change after conducting a series of interviews with staff members and each of the ACC’s 15 university presidents.

“Coming in, I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about any of that. I really didn’t,” he said. “But when I got to the end of my tour, I realized we needed to have an assessment of the whole entire ACC structure, staffing, external, how we were focused, all of those things. To exclude the location piece just would have been a disservice to what I was asked to do and that’s to lead an entire conference.”

Phillips has hired a consulting firm to help with the evaluation process.

“We felt like we needed a consultant that specialized in strictly location of organizations, of companies,” he said. “We hired Newmark and we are in that first phase with them. The assessment right now is just of Greensboro, either staying where we’re at in Greensboro in the same building or another part of Greensboro. The presidents will decide if there is a phase 2, which would mean we would start to talk with other cities.”

While a move out of Greensboro might be popular among some of the ACC’s newer members, particularly Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim — who has never been shy about expressing his dislike for the league’s Piedmont Triad hub — Phillips understands that there is just as much sentiment for continuing the status quo.

“I know the history of May 1953. I know how much the ACC means to Greensboro,” Phillips said. “I wasn’t, again, looking initially at this, but as I started to formulate my own ideas and listening, this was something that has to be done, and I really like the way that this is being handled right now.”