Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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“ACC Tournament week is sort of like a holiday…”

Elon's The Pendulum staff publishes their ACC picks in 1991.

Elon’s The Pendulum staff publishes their ACC picks in 1991.

As you scramble to fill out your brackets, we at the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center thought it would be fun to see how the ACC tournament has been discussed across the state throughout the years since the tournament started in the 1950s.  While we all know the big names in the tournament who call North Carolina home, many of the state’s smaller institutions have had a lot to say on the tournament over the years as well, even if their own school or anyone from their town is not participating.  A look through the newspapers we have in DigitalNC shows that North Carolina is truly basketball country, especially in March.

The columnist from the Clarion, Brevard's student newspaper, in 1979 describing the tournament atmosphere in NC much as one finds it today.

The columnist from the Clarion, Brevard’s student newspaper, in 1979 describing the tournament atmosphere in NC much as one finds it today.

The quote from the article above, from 1979, goes to show that the hyper-attention on the tournament is nothing new.  Productivity in North Carolina during this week in March has always been rather low!

Elon's student newspaper sports columnist in 1994 brushes off criticism for focusing on the ACC tournament by noting Elon doesn't participate in any yet.

Elon’s student newspaper sports columnist in 1994 brushes off criticism for focusing on the ACC tournament by noting Elon doesn’t participate in any yet.

It seems that all the sports columnists in both town and other institution’s student newspapers had an opinion to offer on who they think will win the tournament that year and overall commentary on the tournament and how it stands up to others for the sport.  Many of the columnists remark that having grown up in North Carolina they always followed the tournament, and so brush off any criticism over the fact their own school isn’t participating so why offer commentary?

Headline for an article from Louisberg College's "Columns" student newspaper in 1964, arguing the ACC tournament does not properly reward the best team in the ACC.

Headline for an article from Louisburg College’s “Columns” student newspaper in 1964, arguing the ACC tournament does not properly reward the best team in the ACC.

ACC_DukeUNC_1979

The other student newspapers across the state don’t tend to pick between the big blue rivalry. This is from the Clarion, Brevard College’s student newspaper, in 1979.

Duke and Carolina is the repeated rivalry throughout the sports columns discussing the tournament.  There is even a column from Raeford’s The News-Journal that laments that North Carolina State University beat Duke in the first round of the tournament, noting that Duke was clearly the best team in the country.

The airlines got in on the ACC fun too. This photograph from Piedmont Airlines' company paper shows the winner of their ACC trivia contest, with a prize of roundtrip tickets to the tournament in 1981.

The airlines got in on the ACC fun too. This photograph from Piedmont Airlines’ company paper shows the winner of their ACC trivia contest, with a prize of roundtrip tickets to the tournament in 1981.

To view more ACC tournament news from the past and check out more North Carolina newspapers in general, visit the North Carolina Newspapers page.  And as the NC Digital Heritage Center staff’s only bias is for all things North Carolina, we wish the Wolfpack, Deacons, Blue Devils, and Tar Heels well this week!


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