I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” It’s a theory I subscribe to and once again it was proven correct with regards to the All-ACC voting in basketball this season. In previous years, the ACC recognized the vote of its media group, the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association(ACSMA), as the “official” vote for its All-ACC rewards.
However, in recent years as the conference’s geographic footprint has grown, some teams began to complain that there was a bias towards voting for players at the schools located in North Carolina and Virginia as the majority of the ACSMA members resided in these states. Basically, the integrity of the media who voted on the All-ACC teams was called into question by teams outside of North Carolina and Virginia.
As a result, the ACC made a change this season to its voting process.
Instead of following years of precedent, the voting bloc would consist of an equal amount of representatives from each ACC school. There would still be a designated beat writer for each school involved to represent the media, but the head coaches would also have a vote now. Interesting to note that last season, the ACSMA vote was nearly identical to the coaches’ vote, but I digress.
So, how did making these changes affect the All-ACC vote this season? Was the make-up of the team drastically different from the team the ACSMA voters voted for? The answers are “not much” and “definitely not.”
First, the 1st Team All-ACC players were identical in the separate votes. In fact, 13 of the 15 players voted to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd All-ACC teams were the same between the two voting blocs.
How about Player-of-the-Year or Coach-of-the-Year? Yep, they were identical, which is important to note since both of these awards were hotly debated. In the end, both voting blocs chose North Carolina’s Justin Jackson as POY and Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner as COY. So taking the official vote away from the “biased” media resulted in the POY being from? That’s right, the state of North Carolina.
As you look down the line at the other awards, they again were almost identical between the media vote and the “new” vote, with the exception being the 6th Man Award. In that case ACSMA chose Virginia Tech’s Zach LeDay and the “official” vote went to Virginia Tech’s Seth Allen. One could argue that was a toss-up vote anyway since it was hard to determine which Hokie was actually the 6th Man as both started a number of games for Buzz Williams.
So, how should this new process be evaluated? One example of how one could say the media vote was less biased is for the simple reason that the POY was a unanimous 1st-teamer in the ACSMA vote, but not in the “new” vote. How do you leave the POY off the 1st Team? So which head coach left the POY off of his 1st Team? Any bias there? It’s an interesting question to consider.
In the end, I think the fact that the votes were basically identical showed that the media that has covered the ACC for many years might actually have a good amount of knowledge on what happens in the conference and can be trusted to evaluate it honestly and effectively.
Again, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?