“My experience in the Big Ten, going through the expansion twice, with Nebraska first and Maryland and Rutgers, I think there has to be a conscious effort and a taking of intentional decision for there to be and to feel united as a conference, “said Phillips.” That doesn’t mean that there aren’t difficult circumstances and situations where there is great disagreement. Strong disagreement. But in the end, the commitment to each other and the commitment to the conference was truly refreshing. “
Meeting with the Chancellor, the athletes
Phillips met with athletic director Boo Corrigan and the North Carolina State athletic director as well as Chancellor Randy Woodson on Monday, but perhaps the most important part of his visit was the hour he had. spent with five athletes from the state of North Carolina, where the new commissioner listened more than spoke. It was an impressive group, all members of the Pack United activism group that formed last summer: soccer players Isaiah Jones and Grant Gibson, soccer player Leon Krapf, swimmer Shannon Kearney and runner Peyton Barish. .
Two of them already had at least tenuous ties to Phillips: Krapf was on the ACC search committee that hired Phillips, and Kearney attended the same suburban Chicago high school as Phillips’ eldest son.
Phillips led them into a broad discussion that covered their experience at NC State, enduring the COVID pandemic, mental health, social activism, ACC Championships, NCAA legislation, the impending emergence of name rights, image and likeness, and 2014 Northwestern football players’ attempt to unionize, all of which ended up coming back to the future of the NCAA. Phillips has heard a wide variety of views on the latter, even within this small group.