ACC TV network still on course despite ESPN challenges

All signals are go for the ACC TV network to go live in 2019. That’s the word from John Swofford, commissioner of Atlantic Coast Conference, regarding the future of the network. 

In a memo distributed Tuesday to ACC administrators, Swofford wrote:

“As you may have seen, some of the so-called ‘experts’ on social media, in light of ESPN’s recently announced layoffs, have questioned whether the ACC’s linear network will launch.

“I write to let you know that I have had multiple conversations with John Skipper, as recently as this morning, and have total confirmation that the ACC/ESPN linear network is full speed ahead and unaffected by the aforementioned events at ESPN.”

His memo followed news from the University of Louisville Athletic Association about plans for an $8 million production studio by 2019 to help meet the school’s television broadcast needs. The new network will enable fans to tune in ACC games on their cable TV connections.

Currently numerous conference athletic events are being streamed live on ACC Extra, an online network available to users of the Internet. Users connect in a wide variety of ways, including Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire Stick devices.

Hopefully, the ACC, along with its member institutions, is flexible and prepared to deal with rapid changes in technology. ESPN, in particular, has been hard hit by losses in cable subscribers.

There will always be a market for actual ACC competition and games, as opposed to all the talking heads on radio and TV these days.



West Virginia not good company for Clemson fans

Clemson followers have done their best this week to ensure that University of Louisville fans are aware of the Tigers’ football traditions, as if that would somehow intimidate the Cardinal fans and, ultimately, the UofL players. Screenshot 2014-10-08 12.40.47

By now, UofL fans should be well aware that Clemson, according to Clemson fans, has the best defensive line in the conference. That freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson is among the most prolific passers in college football. That Clemson football fans are among the loudest anywhere. That they don’t know much about UofL football. They criticize Louisville’s schedule, the loss to Virginia, the predictable complaints of some opposing fans.

Some of them have even resorted to bringing up Bobby Petrino’s misadventures at Arkansas, one of the deepest valleys in his life. As if there are no limits as to how low they will go.

Others were offended that Petrino would dare say the Syracuse Carrier Dome was a loud place when asked about the noise level at Clemson. Resorting to the unprecedented step of backing a “Silent Out” during pre-game preparations, which should be interesting at a place that averages close to 80,000 fans per game.  But it’s obvious that it doesn’t take much to offend Clemson fans.

All the blather from the fans of a new conference foe is reminiscent of the reception UofL fans received from West Virginia fans during Louisville’s first season in the Big East Conference. Not a position in which any other fan base would want to be included.

The unintended consequences of the classless attacks is that they will serve to thicken the chip on the collective shoulder of UofL fans. Clemson may win the football game but the disruptive elements of the fan base will always be a burden.

Meet Clemson Tom, for example.

What’s next for Kevin Miller at UofL?

Kevin MIller (left) with Tom Jurich and James Ramsey at the ACC press conference.
Kevin Miller (left) with Tom Jurich and James Ramsey at the ACC press conference.

Will Kevin Miller, who has been one of Tom Jurich’s key financial assistants, throw his hat in the ring for consideration for the new post of Chief Financial Officer being created by the University of Louisville?

Miller is currently Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director in the athletics department and has been deeply involved in the financial planning that has seen UofL’s athletic budget increase from $14 million to nearly $90 million under Jurich’s leadership.

A native of Lebanon Junction, Miller is often in close proximity to Jurich when major decisions on new capital projects are announced. He was, in fact, seated next to his boss on the front row at the press conference making UofL’s entry into the ACC official last week.

Kevin worked 11 years in the UofL controller’s office prior to joining the athletic department. He served in various capacities with the University Credit Union, including six years as a member of the union’s board of directors.

Miller has had many rewarding moments working with Jurich with his involvement in so many major advances over the years. He would has to be wondering if he wanted to give all that up for what would be a major career advancement.


Back to the future

A few more images from that memorable celebration at Fourth Street Live, commemorating the University of Louisville’s first day in the Atlantic Coast Conference. (Click on the first photo, then use arrow keys to advance.)

One more humongous rally as Louisville enters the ACC

ACCcrowdOne more celebration for University of Louisville fans, so many of them in recent years, this one maybe the biggest of all, with thousands of fans jammed into almost every square foot of the Fourth Street Live atrium. The monumental occasion this time was UofL’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Tom Jurich, who had flown in from the Colorado vacation for the day, taking advantage of the opportunity to thank UofL fans for their support, reminding them of the 40,000 who flocked to the Orange Bowl in 2007 and the 30,000 who traveled to the Sugar Bowl in 2013.  The fans support visible in so many ways, from the fans’ role in funding Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium to Jim Patterson Stadium to capacity crowds for football and basketball and many of the Olympic Sports.

John Swofford saving his Maker's Mark for UofL's next national championship.
John Swofford saving his Maker’s Mark for UofL’s next national championship.

People in decision-making positions notice these things, taking them into consideration when weighing the company they want to keep when they are planning for the future. People like John Swofford, the ACC Commissioner, and athletic directors and coaches throughout the conference. Louisville, they decided, would be a great partner in one the most prestigious conferences in America.

Jurich also expressed his appreciation to Swofford for all the ACC’s chief executive has done during the past 18 months to pave the way for Louisville, presenting him with a personalized bottle of Maker’s Mark.

Bobby Petrino unveils new black uniforms.
Bobby Petrino unveils new black uniforms.

Swofford once again praised UofL’s passionate and growing fan base, the community’s hospitality, and the unparalleled success of the athletic department. And he added, “I’m going to save this bottle for when Louisville wins its first national championship in the ACC conference” to a thunderous roar from Cardinals’ fans.

Football Coach Bobby Petrino was greeted by cheers of “Bobby,” “Bobby” “Bobby,” proclaiming one more time that he was thrilled with the fall schedule. “Our goal is to win a national championship at the University of Louisville,” he said, evoking still another roar.

Kenny Johnson, assistant basketball coach and ace recruiter, wouldn't miss this event.
Kenny Johnson, assistant basketball coach and ace recruiter, wouldn’t miss this event.

Petrino also announced a “BLACC OUT” for the opening game again Miami on Sept. 1 and officially unveiled new black uniforms for the game, modeled by Jake Smith and Lorenzo Mauldin for the multitude of admiring fans. Black is obviously back if the fan reaction at the rally will be used to measure their popularity.

Darrell Griffith, a member of the 1980 national championship basketball team, was there, as were Sara Hammond, Wayne Blackshear and Montrezl Harrell, to judge a dunking contest by the ACC mascots. The Cardinal Bird won easily, receiving 10’s from all the judges.

Blackshear promised fans they were going to see “a new Wayne next season.” He did have a different look already, a lean and hungry look that indicated that he’s keeping his “gym rat” promise to Rick Pitino.

Another Louisville party, the end of a perfect day for the University of Louisville, hopefully bringing an end to the nomadic conference-shuffling existence for a long, long time.