While the ACC may want to expand its footprint into major media markets such as New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., the state of North Carolina will always be its original home. That’s why they tend to hold so many events there, including their annual men’s basketball media day, dubbed ACC’s Operation Basketball, Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 25.
While it’s certainly no trouble for any ACC member school to travel to the event, it’s an especially short trip for member schools such as Duke and North Carolina. However, both traditional powerhouses will be showing up on October 25 without actual basketball players, despite the fact that it’s close by.
The reason? A rule change made by Power Five conferences in July meant to limit the amount of time that college athletes devote to athletic-related activity. One of those rules specifically limits an athletes’ media commitments and requirements. This year, media day is not exempt from those limitations and both schools have decided that it’s better to devote the time allotted to practice or bank it against other activities.
Syracuse.com’s Mike Waters spoke with other ACC schools and, so far, the rest plan on bringing players to media day. However, the decision by these two schools could influence others to do the same. In fact, Syracuse is taking a wait-and-see approach and an official at another ACC school said either all players should be able to go or no players should go.
FSU said they plan to fly players in that day and then fly them back out immediately so that they can participate in team practice that evening. The Noles have an exhibition game on Oct. 26.
Waters also reported that, according to sources, Big Ten and Big 12 conference schools are planning to keep students home during their media days as well. Given how important media day has become for conferences and their sponsors, something tells us that the new rule, while well intentioned, is not long for this world.