For the upcoming NCAA Basketball season, ACC coaches will be dressing down. Is this change here to stay?
ACC basketball coaches have voted on a landmark decision for the 2020-21 NCAA Basketball season. They will wear polos instead of suits during games. This follows the NBA’s lead, after a successful postseason in the Orlando bubble, and all NCAA conferences should adopt this dress code.
This shift to casual falls in line with a broader societal trend. Now that many of us with office jobs are working remotely, we have all but eliminated the need to dress up. The only visual interactions we share involve seeing each other’s faces on a 13-inch computer monitor.
Think about what’s behind the scenes of your Zoom meetings – on the other side of that monitor. You’ve rolled out of bed 10 minutes before a work call. Your boss may or may not have showered this week. Your financial adviser is wearing a jacket and tie with Reebok shorts.
When that virtual meeting ends, you continue doing all the work your job entails – except you’re away from the office and wearing casual clothes. Basketball games will have a similar dynamic. For coaches and players, it’ll be just like a practice scrimmage. No fans, no halftime entertainment, just 10 guys on a court playing basketball.
It’s also important to be comfortable. We’re better when we’re comfortable. Ken Griffey Jr. won the Home Run Derby after he turned his hat backward and churned out 400-foot bombs. At weddings, it’s a best practice to loosen your tie before hitting the dance floor. For basketball coaches, it’s the patented Jim Boeheim jacket toss – or Bob Huggins’ commitment to the sweatsuit. Taking a casual route will help coaches feel more natural.
Most importantly, we should appreciate this new dress code for the universal benefit it will provide. This will be a positive change for the coaches, the players, viewers, taxpayers, event staff, everyone. This benefit is sweat management.
Before he left Virginia Tech for the head coach job at Texas A&M, Buzz Williams (pictured in the feature image above) was the ACC’s most notorious perspirer. To Williams’ credit, he was always dapper.
In a league that featured Roy Williams in his tweed jacket and Tony Bennett with the no-tie/pocket square combo, Buzz out-dressed everyone through perfect execution of three-piece suits and patterned ties. Unfortunately, Buzz Williams’ debonair attire had a downside: an inevitable postgame reckoning that ensued from collecting sweat for three hours.
In Blacksburg, Buzz Williams created two armies of enemies: 1) Virginia fans and 2) dry cleaners. Dressing up for a basketball game has its consequences – especially with the intensity and animation that coaches bring. Buzz rolling up to the parking lot probably caused dry cleaners to react similarly to buffet workers when Joey Chestnut approaches the building. Turn off the lights, close the blinds, and nail plywood over the windows and doors.
Hopefully, other conferences follow the ACC’s lead. One can only assume that, despite being in the middle of a desert, the University of Arizona pays an expensive flood insurance premium. The sweat marks on Sean Miller’s suit suggest that he’s one jacket toss from unleashing a monsoon onto the McKale Center. Despite the dry Texas heat, UT’s basketball court needs a mopping during every timeout; otherwise, Shaka Smart may cause the floor to be slick like that of a hotel swimming pool.
Suits are not made to handle the perspiration that comes with coaching a basketball game. Polos enable coaches to move freely. Polos help keep coaches cool. Polos won’t bankrupt the local dry cleaners. Sweat-resistant polos are the new normal and they should be here to stay. Kudos to the ACC.