The show will go on. At least, that's the plan anyway.
With up to a foot of snow forecast for New York City on Wednesday, the ACC tournament will do as much as it can to attempt to proceed as scheduled, commissioner John Swofford said Tuesday.
“We've dealt with it before,” Swofford said. “We've dealt with it in Charlotte. We've dealt with it in Greensboro. Atlanta had its ice storm with the Super Bowl. Unless you're in Florida, you may be dealing with snow or ice this time of year anywhere you go. Our teams are all here. Our officials are all here. We'll see what the borough of Brooklyn has to say and what the arena has to say. But obviously they're pretty accustomed to the snow and the weather.”
The ACC's regular-season rule is to play if the teams, game officials and administrative staff are in place, even if that means playing in an empty or near-empty building. Swofford indicated that would be preferable to delaying games Wednesday, should conditions deteriorate or approach worst-case Noreaster scenarios where arena staff can't get to work or teams struggle. One wrinkle, if things are really bad: Most teams are staying in Manhattan hotels, and would have to find another way to Brooklyn if roads and bridges are closed.
"Life is sure a lot less complicated if you can play,” Swofford said. “If you start moving the tournament days around and considering the fact that fans have flights booked out and teams have flights booked back home right before going into the NCAA tournament, all of that comes into play, too. The preference would be to play. If that's something that's not safe or doable then it becomes a different matter.”
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Swofford addressed a few more topics of interest.
On the future of the ACC tournament: "Combining the histories and traditions for the future is the best thing for the league. That's what this rotation, the more recent rotation, has done. I think that will in all likelihood be the conference's approach to the future."
On the NBA's interest in starting its own developmental league: “Personally, without knowing the details of it, conceptually, I think it could be a very good thing for a lot of young guys who aren't interested in going to college and would prefer to go ahead and start their pro career. The colleges, for our programs, need to continue to be educationally based. And maybe in a sense we need a reset on that, and that would help us.”
On what changes are needed to NCAA rules: “Summer, we've got to look at summer, and how that is done. And where our coaches and when our coaches are allowed to recruit and when they're not. There are probably some aspects of our rules we need to quit worrying about because they're impractical and they don't matter. Right now, you can talk to an agent but if you have a lunch or a dinner, it's treated by some as if that's some huge loan being made and they're not one and the same. We need to look at our own rules to a degree, but not in a way that undermines the collegiate model. I think doing all that is very consistent with what we've been trying to do the last couple years with autonomy, with cost of attendance as the biggest part of that.”
On the implications of the FBI investigation into college basketball: “I think the biggest kick in the gut, I've spent a great deal of time, and I'm not quite through, talking to all of our coaches, each one individually, either in person or by phone. The consistency that I get is that assistant coaches allegedly taking money to impact players with agents or players with shoe companies, that's been a real kick in the gut to the coaches. I said this back in October, you don't really want the kind of opportunity that this FBI investigation puts on you. You don't want it to happen that way. But it has. If we don't collectively make something good come out of this, shame on all of us. You can't miss this kind of opportunity to make something better.”
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock