Originally published 03/13/2013
Samuel Walker is a professional historian and the author of “ACC Basketball: The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference.”The Atlantic Coast Conference celebrates the 60th anniversary of its men’s basketball tournament next week. The tournament is an iconic event in ACC history, but its glory days are an increasingly distant memory. It no longer fills arenas even when tickets are offered to the general public.As the ACC approaches the end of its sixth decade, the decline of the tournament’s popularity is a symptom of other problems. The most troubling is that conference realignment raises serious questions about whether the ACC will continue to benefit from the traditions that made it great.The ACC was founded May 7, 1953, for two major reasons: to create a sound balance between academic and athletic programs and to improve the football stature of member schools by providing opportunities to play in bowl games....