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Charlotte, North Carolina – From inspirational and touching speeches to spicy sound bites, the ACC Kickoff delivered as media outlets flooded the Westin Charlotte ballrooms.The star of the two-day event was of course, the talk of the new NIL rules and how the ACC institutions were going to handle and educate players as they start to get offers going forward.
Miami Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King was very vocal on his thoughts of the NIL rule stating.
“I think it’s really good for college football. My thing was…work with good companies, you don’t have to work with every company. You want to work with companies that align with your core values,” stated King.
King partnered with Florida State Seminoles transfer Makenzie Milton and founded the Dreamfield Corporation which helps players find companies and facilitate deals. Milton also spoke about the ruling and echoed his business partner’s thoughts.
“D’Eriq and I, we’re older heads in this college football game. So, I think just being a part of Dreamfield is just giving us an opportunity to think about life after football and help educate these college athletes filing taxes, setting their market rate for what they feel their market is and getting in contact with local businesses.”
The coaches of every institution were vocal of their support for their players’ endeavors on NIL compensation and educating their athletes but the quote of the event came from Clemson Tigers’ head coach Dabo Swinney. When asked if he was apprehensive about NIL he took the chance to clarify what he meant.
“I’ve never been apprehensive about NIL, that’s not the story. People hear what they want to hear and then they write what they want to write and then people believe what they want to believe,” said Swinney. “My comments were, I’m against the professionalization of college athletics, always have been, always will be. I’m for education, graduating and equipping young through the game of football for life.”
The two-time National Champion coach gave his thoughts on the NIL’s effect on collegiate sports. He believes it’s common sense and that it’s good for them to have the opportunity to make money by working on their own time.
“I would’ve liked more to have been done through the scholarship to he quite honest with you because then everyone could participate. NIL is some not everybody.”
Outside of the NIL their were plenty of great quotes about the upcoming season and the magnitude of having fans back in attendance for ACC games. None were more adamant about fans attending games than North Carolina Tar Heels coach Mack Brown.
“I challenged our fans to buy in. People said fans aren’t coming to the games. I said, C’mon, fans, you want to be a good football program, you have to be a good fan base,” stated Brown. “We sold out every game, one of seven teams to sell out every game in 2019. We’ve already sold all of our season tickets, which is amazing after the very difficult year most people have had financially over the last year.”
The Syracuse Orange players also were very excited about having fans back in the Carrier Dome. Defensive lineman Josh Black spoke about feeding off the fans during games.
“Just feeding off the energy of the fans itself makes a huge difference just based off adrenaline,” Black stated. “The fans are what we feed off of, we’re called the Loud House for a reason.”
Attracting fans comes from winning and a sense of swagger and there was plenty of it at the ACC Kickoff. Most of it being exuded from Georgia Tech’s coach Geoff Collins and coach Brown. Collins was a model of the Georgia Tech colors as he wore a tailored navy blue pinstripe suit and gold neck tie.
Coach Brown kept the suit conservative but in classic UNC coach fashion, dawned a pair of Air Jordan 4’s “University Blue” (North Carolina Blue). When asked about swapping shoes for a pair of Air Jordan “Bred 11’s” he said, “Those are nice but they have red on the bottom and tips so I can’t wear those,” in a fun exchange.
There were many other highlights from the two days of media madness but one of the more touching moments was Florida State head coach Mike Norvell’s speech on former head coach Bobby Bowden who is battling pancreatic cancer. Norvell opened day two by giving an emotional statement.
“I just want to reference his words, as he’s at home as he’s resting. He talked about being at peace and I think that even speaks to the legacy of who he is and what he’s all about. Because that’s what life is about, to be able to go through a journey and to be in a challenging place and a challenging moment and be able to be at peace. Because of the impact that he’s made, because of the man that he is, the coach that changed a university and place.”
All in all, there was a lot to take from the ACC Kickoff and there is much to look forward to this season. The ACC looks to be one of the more fun conferences to watch with a lot of talented rosters in both the Atlantic and Coastal divisions.
Our prayers here at The 3 Point Conversion go out to the Bowden family.