Even more shocking than North Carolina State's triumph over North Carolina Wednesday night was the less-than-capacity crowd that attended the game in Raleigh.
A State-Carolina game not selling out is unheard of, but it happened, much for the same reasons Maryland has drawn smaller ACC crowds than usual this season. Television exposure and disappointing performances by the home squads apparently are turning off the fans.
Television, more than any other element, has made the ACC the league it is. But the tube also can be overused. It seems about time for the conference to reassess its television commitment, and cut it back so that only the best games are shown in coming years.
At the same time, a close look at both coaching and refereeing in the league is needed. The sport is for the players, not the officials or the coaches, but that's hard to remember sometimes when watching a typical ACC affair. Rival coaches in these match-ups usually are bolting off the bench, gyrating and gesturing on almost every call by the refs, who appear intent on turning games into foul-shooting contests.
Fans don't want things muddled by these antics. Coaches should be confined to their bench seats - or slapped with automatic technicals. And there has to be a happy medium reached in officiating. The no harm-no foul cliche seems more appropriate all the time.
Virginia and Virginia Tech both have activated plans to expand their football stadiums.
Virginia will add 12,000 seats to Scott Stadium by the start of the 1978 season. Cost of the project, which will be funded out of donations and private money, is $3,275,000. It will raise capacity of the facility to 36,000 permanent seats and 42,000 total seats, and will aso include a new press box and president's box.
The Cavaliers previously had upgraded the stadium seats and put in and artificial-turf field.
Fund raising has begun to finance a 12,500-seat addition to Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium. The new seats, costing $2.5 million, also could be added in time for the 1978 season and would increase total capacity to almost 50,000 School officials feel that a larger stadium will make it easier for Tech to attract bigger-name football opponents, and thus increase gate revenue.
Except for 1970, football attendance has risen steadily during the 12 seasons in Lane. Average attendance last year was 34,000.
The supervisor of basketball officials in the Gulf South Conference thinks he might havs solved the jumpball headache.
Hurshel Meares has invented a device thta vaguely resembles a bicycle pump with a carpenter's level that he feels will make every jump ball fair.
The device, which can be attached to the referee's belt, fires the ball exactly four feet nine inches every time. It's been tried in an exhibition game and may be used in some conferences on an experimental basis.
Virginia's Ed Schetlick, who was involved in a fight last week with N.C. State's Kenny Carr, has named three members of his all-ACC dirty-player team. Carr made the squad, along with Schetlick himself and Wayne Rollins. Schetlick says Rollins is by far the dirtiest player in the conference.
North Carolina-Charlotte players and coaches have been upset about their lack of national recognition despite last year's impressive NIT showing and this year's old-defeat performance. Tonight, they'll have a chance to prove their point against Top 10 Wake Forest. A victory in that one surely should earn them a place in the ranking.
Tate Armstrong's injury has left Duke with only seven healthy players. It's incredible that an ACC team can be so short of scholarship athletes, a weakness coach Bill Foster has to correct before he can develop a contender.
Armstrong scored 31 points after breaking his wrist in the opening minutes of the Virginia game Monday night.He said the wrist hurt but he thought it was only a sprain.
Taking his place in the Duke lineup is soph Steve Gray, who played in only 10 games last year.
Another Top 10 team could fall tonight. Alabama must play Tennessee in Knoxville, where the dangerous Volunteers are particularly tough to beat. Look for the Tide to lose its first game.
Athletes in Action defeated San Francisco, 104-85, in an exhibition game Saturday night but the Wheaton Dons don't figure to have a collegiate test until traveling to Notre Dame March 1. They've already demolished Pepperdine, their toughest rival in the West Coast Athletic Conference, by 35 points.