The Atlantic Coast Conference is taking its men’s basketball tournament from Tobacco Road to the bright lights of New York.
A person familiar with the situation said Tuesday the league has completed a two-year deal to bring the tournament to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center starting in 2017.
The Atlantic 10 was scheduled to play its tournament there through 2017, but will move in exchange for playing an ACC/A-10 doubleheader at Barclays during the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. The A-10 tournament will then return to Barclays for three years starting in 2019.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t publicly commented on the move.
ACC commissioner John Swofford and Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade are scheduled to hold a news conference at the venue Wednesday morning with Barclays Center chief executive officer Brett Yormark.
It wasn’t immediately clear where the Atlantic 10 will hold its tournament in 2017 and 2018, nor which teams would participate in the doubleheaders.
The ACC will hold next year’s tournament in Greensboro, N.C., home to the league headquarters, before going to Washington, D.C., in 2016.
The move to New York represents a shift from the ACC tournament’s Southern roots after years of conference realignment. Louisville’s arrival in July will mark the seventh former Big East school to join the 15-team league since 2004.
The state of North Carolina has hosted 50 of the 61 tournaments in league history, starting at North Carolina State’s Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh in 1954. The ACC has also rotated it through Atlanta, Landover, Md., Washington, D.C., and Tampa, Fla.
The Greensboro Coliseum has hosted the tournament 25 times — including earlier this month when longtime member Virginia won — while Charlotte has hosted it a dozen times.
Bucky Waters remembers the ACC tournament’s early days as a player at N.C. State under Everett Case in the 1950s, then as Duke’s head coach for four seasons in the 1970s. Now, he pointed out, the league’s footprint stretches from Boston to Miami along the East Coast.
“I came to N.C. State in 1954 when the ACC was formed, so I’ve got a great soft spot for back in the day in Greensboro and Charlotte and all of that,” Waters said. “But this is a new world.”
Swofford has talked publicly about holding the tournament in New York at least since 2011 when the league announced it would add Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East.
During the preseason ACC Operation Basketball media day, Swofford said league members have “great respect” for the tournament’s tradition in North Carolina but must balance that with pursuing new ways to promote the league when asked about holding the tournament in New York.
“With our footprint, and the quality of institutions and programs that we have, it just gives us opportunities in front of us that we haven’t had in the past,” Swofford said in October. “And that includes potentially being in some markets with a tournament that we’ve never been in before.”
Miami and Virginia Tech were the first Big East schools to join the ACC in 2004, with Boston College following a year later. Pitt and Syracuse joined the ACC last summer along with Notre Dame, which joined in all sports except football.
Louisville will arrive after a one-year stay in the American Athletic Conference to replace Maryland, which is leaving for the Big Ten. Maryland will join fellow charter member South Carolina (1971) as the only two schools to withdraw from the ACC and leaves only five remaining charter members: Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest.
Virginia joined the league in December 1953, seven months after the league formed, while Georgia Tech replaced South Carolina in 1978 and Florida State joined in 1991.
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