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ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
July 27, 2023 7:05 pm

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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July 27, 2023 7:05 pm

ACC Commissioner, Jim Phillips, joins the show to discuss ACC Kickoff, prioritizing basketball, the importance of non-conference scheduling, like the UNC-Kansas home-and-home, the ACC HQ move from Charlotte to Greensboro, and taking Josh to the World Series.


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We are here at ACC kickoff, where a few days ago the event began, the way that kickoff always begins, with the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference addressing the media and addressing a myriad of different subjects.

But it's hard to get to everything in one hour, so we appreciate the commissioner now, Jim Phillips, joining us to get to some more pressing subjects. Most importantly, a couple of nights ago when we were at the roof top bar, because you're not in Charlotte unless you're on a roof top bar, and Jim Phillips wanting to talk baseball, and more specifically, his secret love of the Baltimore Orioles. We know about the Chicago ties, the White Sox and the Cubs, but I did not know you had a secret love for the Baltimore Orioles too, Jim Phillips, and welcome to the show.

Jim, thank you so much for the invitation that you bring to the ACC. So let's get on with the Orioles. So growing up in a household of 10 kids, six girls and four boys, I had an older brother that had a Cal Ripken poster in our room, and we slept four kids in the room, two double beds, and that was my first kind of interaction with the Baltimore Orioles. So I became a distant fan of the Orioles and watched them, and it was all around Cal Ripken, right? Billy Ripken, Coach Ripken, the dad, senior, and it was a wonderful thing because that was a family that loved baseball, and our family loved baseball. Fast forward to maybe seven years ago or so, I meet a young guy named Brandon Hyde with the Chicago Cubs, and so obviously you get a chance to meet him and follow what his path is. He's with the Cubs, he's with the Cubs, and then he gets his first managerial opportunity with the Baltimore Orioles, and he took over a really bad team, Josh. As much as you love the Orioles, you know that they were a really bad team.

Anyways, persistence, right? One year, next year, the next year, they hang with them, so I really give Baltimore's leadership a lot of credit. They hung with them, and look at what he's done now. And so I'm rooting for my friend, Brandon Hyde, and it just so happened when I saw you the other night, you had an Orioles t-shirt, which prompted the conversation. So that's my Baltimore Orioles story, and I'm sticking to it. He also said, Jim Phillips also said, W.D., that if we ever wanted to go to Wrigley, he'd take care of us.

He also said that, I'll point out. Well, let's plan it out. Let's go. Figure out a way to go to Wrigley. Let's do it. The road show. The Josh and Will road show.

Yeah, we'll make it work. We'll get to Wrigley eventually. You started your comments a couple of days ago by mentioning that the move is continuing from Greensboro to Charlotte. I've had folks ask me this in the Triad. Well, are they still in Greensboro?

When are they expected to be fully gone? What does that timeline look like? Well, after I think you and I had multiple discussions after a lengthy kind of vetting process and the decision to move to Charlotte, we wanted to give the staff, you know, nearly a year to make the transition. And so we are still in Greensboro, which Josh will always be the home, always be the original home of the ACC for 70 years. No one will ever take that history away from us. And we will continue to play championships there.

And I, you know, personally have just loved living in the city in the town of Greensboro. So we are moving the offices. It will happen in the month of August. That's when the final transition will take place.

And we will open the office the Tuesday after Labor Day and uptown in the Queen City on the 12th floor of the Bank of America building. So a lot of movement right now. I would tell you, you know, the biggest concern is to make sure that we have our game day operations center, which is really our replay command center up and running. And so we will we certainly will not take it down in Greensboro until we know for sure that it's up and running in Charlotte. So we may have a couple of staffers stay back and then eventually come to Charlotte.

So we're still working a little bit on that. But but that is the latest as it relates to the movement from Greensboro to Charlotte. ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips with us on WSJS. We're at ACC kickoff in uptown Charlotte. You mentioned championships. You know how long in advance you have to book some of these venues.

So I'm interested. Why haven't we learned about the 2025 site? And when we learn of 2025, how many championships do you hope to announce in men's basketball?

Yeah, really good question, Josh. We have gone out to a little bit of a bidding process and we want to announce more than just one or two years. I think it's important to see what this thing looks like over maybe a four or five year period. So I would expect in the early fall that we would have that maybe even a little sooner.

Not sure. But we're coming down to the finish line on this. And, you know, I think most importantly, we know home base being in the state of North Carolina. And so whether it's Greensboro or Charlotte, we will also try to get up the coast some like we have in D.C. or in Brooklyn and and the rest.

But I think it's safe to say that a lot of the championships will end up somewhere in the state of North Carolina. Are you thinking as far ahead to the 75 year anniversary? Is that something you guys have even begun to talk about yet? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. And we want to try to do something special if we can.

So it's logistic, you know, driven and timing driven. But yes, yes, I really believe there's a way to to to pay special tribute to the 75th anniversary, the ACC basketball tournament. So that has been something we've been talking about really for the last couple of years as well.

We haven't had a chance to catch you since spring meeting. So bringing up basketball again. This is something we discussed back at the ACC tournament.

Like what what's your role on what to say publicly versus privately learning the impact of the net and learning, you know, what needs to change about the net, what to advocate for, what to do scheduling wise. Coaches have told us that was a discussion, a discussion at Amelia Island. As we've seen folks talk about the net, as we've seen schedules start to come out.

Where are you at with the ACC's adjustment? Because we saw the statement you put out to Andrea Adelson at ESPN, what you said to her about needing to be more aggressive on the basketball front. We do, because I think we were all frustrated the last couple of years just in in the number of teams that that were invited into the NCAA men's basketball tournament. So immediately after the season, we got a smaller group of athletic directors together with Kevin Pogba, who does a really good job of analytics and analyzing selection and the metrics of the net, et cetera. We followed up with our coaches.

We had some really good conversation down in Amelia Island in May. And I would just leave it at this, that I think you're going to continue to see really smart and strategic scheduling by our schools. And that's not really the conference's oversight to do that, because these are individual institutional decisions. But I think the education process, Josh, was really helpful. And then having Bubba Cunningham from North Carolina on the committee, and I have served on that committee before on the men's and women's basketball selection committee, that is that is a really, I think, wonderful advantage for the conference, because Bubba is hearing all the conversations firsthand.

He will be the vice chair coming up and then he will ascend to the chair position. And I think it's a great move by the NCAA because Bubba is really, really smart and understands the importance of the tournament for not only North Carolina, but the entire conference. So I like our plan.

I like the education we've gotten. I like the strategy moving forward. And, you know, at the end of the day, nothing beats winning games, especially in the non-conference, Josh, because there's a cannibalization in every conference and every season, no matter what sport. So we have to try to make sure we're scheduling smart in the non-conference. You've got to look at teams and programs that perennially have been good. But I will say this in, you know, in slight defense a little bit with the portal and the massive movement on rosters, in this case in the sport of basketball, it's really hard to understand what a team may have the following year. What it looks like on paper at the end of one season and what they show up the next fall could be drastically different.

So that is a little bit of the X factor in this thing. And, you know, I just remember Clemson, who I felt terrible about not making the NCAA tournament last year. You know, they had a couple of games, one in particular against Cal that they had scheduled ahead. Now, Cal historically has been a pretty good basketball program. But because of some of the attrition that Cal suffered, they had a miserable season. I think they just won a handful of games. And so that wasn't Clemson's fault playing Cal and they didn't know that that was going to be kind of the season.

So that ends up being a little bit of the unknown and I don't know that that's going to change much or that you can do very much as we go forward. Only, you know, the very best that you can, playing another Power Five school, et cetera. I take it then it's not a coincidence. You're talking about creative scheduling and non-conference. You mentioned Bubba Cunningham and we get an announcement this week that Carolina and Kansas are playing a home and home in basketball. I take it when you talk about true road games that most times in Power Five senses would net you, to speak of the net, Quad One wins or Quad One games.

Yes, correct, correct. Even if you're not at the top of your conference, when you go on the road and you play somebody, even if you're in the top quadrant or middle and up, those middle and up in the Power Five are usually playing some really good teams throughout the year. And I know there's debate about what conferences best, et cetera. But when you look at the Power Five, and you may even want to throw in the Big East in men's basketball, those are going to be good teams. Those are going to be good quality wins if you can do it on the road.

And if you can get them at home and you can beat them at home, those are also going to be really those Quad One wins you speak of. Jim Phillips, ACC Commissioner, last thing for you. We got to talk football since we got you. Because the Big Ten is no longer in the ESPN and ABC business, there are more television windows that are opened up.

John Curry was speaking with us a few weeks ago saying this is something that came up at Amelia Island. And we're seeing the rewards of, hey, North Carolina and South Carolina is getting college game day treatment. It's going to get ABC primetime treatment right down the road from where I sit right now at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Because of that, and I think the first weekend is evidence of that with LSU Florida State on that Sunday night as well before the NFL starts. Just how important is this year from an exposure standpoint for the ACC because of the current framework in television? Yeah, you're on it.

And John Curry is exactly right. We had some pretty intense discussions. This is a wonderful opportunity. As you described, with the vacated Big Ten spots with ESPN and with the SEC still remaining with CBS for a portion of their television package, we have a wonderful opportunity and our programs have a wonderful opportunity to have some of the great windows and some of the great platforms in college football. And it certainly starts in the non-conference. And we have some really good games, some really good matchups. And I'm proud of our teams for scheduling difficult games early in the year. So I think it sets up well, not only this year, but really as we move ahead. And to have a partner like ESPN and to have those kinds of platforms now and into the future, I think is going to give us a really good advantage as it comes to recruitment of student athletes, the development of our programs, the success of our teams, et cetera. So this is a really unique period, though, this 2023 football season. And I know our coaches are really looking forward to it. And in one of my calls with the head football coaches in the ACC, I mentioned this to them a couple of weeks ago as we were just talking about some national topics, that this was a wonderful, again, opportunity for us to show the country just how good ACC football is.

Commissioner Phillips, thank you so much for doing this. And I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon, maybe before you guys leave Greensboro for good. I hope to see you. Sounds great. Sounds great. And if the Orioles get to the series, we're going.

Yes. You know, my dad, I told my dad about our conversation and he said you should ask him for World Series tickets. I'm like, Dad, I'm not going to do that. But Jim Phillips, we're going if they're going. We're going.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-27 22:34:36 / 2023-07-27 22:40:16 / 6

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