Updated 03/07/2012 04:54 PM
ACC in talks with ESPN about Friday football
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RALEIGH—The long-standing tradition of Friday night high school football could soon receive some high level competition.
A website that covers Clemson University sports reports the Atlantic Coast Conference and television partner ESPN are in talks to broadcast some ACC games on Friday evenings.
Clemson athletic directory Terry Don Phillips told Tiger Illustrated that he believes it is going to be a limited number of schools participating. Phillips said a large percentage of ACC schools are against playing on Fridays.
"This is not a new conversation at the collegiate level, at least for the Atlantic Coast Conference. This has been a conversation that's gone on for some years,” said N.C. High School Athletic Association executive director Davis Whitfield.
Whitfield previously worked for the ACC. However, he is clear on how he sees Friday nights; as the sacred night for high school football. Coach Chris Martin of Raleigh's Broughton High School said high schools rely heavily on ticket sales from football games to keep the rest of their athletic programs going.
"We survive off of our gate receipts. We don't have the kind of advertising money that a lot of these big universities have. We don't have that kind of stuff. We don't have TV revenues," said Martin.
Therefore, it is important to consider the impact on high schools if N.C. State University and UNC were to kickoff on a Friday night at Carter-Finley Stadium.
"Now, our fans would have to make a choice,” said Whitfield. “Are they going to stay at home on Friday night and watch that game on television as opposed to supporting our high school programs? We don't want to have that opportunity to give them that chance."
News 14 Carolina reached out to ACC members Duke, N.C. State, UNC, and Wake Forest regarding this story, but received no comment.
ACC associate commissioner Michael Kelly responded via email saying, "We never comment upon business discussions that are still in progress. Any such story on your part at this early juncture would be premature and potentially irresponsible."
News 14 Carolina has not received a comment from ESPN.