If you were a fan of one of the Triangle’s ACC schools in the 1970s or before and wanted to read coverage of your favorite teams, you mostly were limited to the stories daily newspapers published.
There are now fewer of those newspapers and many more places to read coverage online. They range from sites with full-time writing staffs to others that offer a fan’s perspective. These sites aren’t affiliated with any school just as there are several Carolina Hurricanes sites not affiliated with the team.
The first successful non-affiliated, non-mainstream newspaper publication on area college sports was The Poop Sheet in 1977, which became the ACC Sports Journal. There have been others to follow, such as Carolina Blue, Inside Carolina, Blue Devil Weekly, the Wolfpacker and Pack Pride.
A few print publications remain, including the ACC Sport Journal, Carolina Blue and the Wolfpacker, but the majority of the coverage is now online.
Most of these sites make a point of saying that they have no affiliation with the school or team. The same was true of a UNC-oriented sports website VilCom Interactive Media ran in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It used the URL goheels.com, and featured columnists such as Art Chansky, Alfred Hamilton and Clint Jackson.
At the top of the page were the words, “Never Has Been Never Will Be The Official Site of UNC.” Of course, they didn’t anticipate that their site eventually would shut down, and that UNC would purchase the URL to use for its official athletics website. For years, goheels.com HAS been the official site of UNC athletics.
I guess you never should say never! And never underestimate the number of websites that are portals for people to write about the ACC and the Canes.
Not including mainstream media outlets, there are seven unaffiliated sites focused on Duke (Ball Durham, Blue Devil Lair, Blue Devil Nation, Duke Basketball Report, Duke Update, Devils Illustrated and The Devils Den) and North Carolina (Carolina Blue, Inside Carolina, Keeping It Heel, Tar Heel Blog, Tar Heel Depot, Tar Heel Illustrated and Tar Heel Times), six on N.C. State (Backing the Pack, Pack Pride, Pack Insider, Riddick & Reynolds, State Fan Nation and The Wolfpacker), four on the Hurricanes (Canes Country, Canes & Coffee, Cardiac Cane and Section 328) and one each on the Durham Bulls (Watching Durham Bulls Baseball) and Carolina RailHawks (Triangle Soccer Fanatics.)
No doubt, there may be others. Some are out there, but inactive.
For most of the college sites, there is heavier emphasis on recruiting than you’ll find in newspapers. That was one of the selling points initially for The Poop Sheet when former UNC basketball player Dennis Wuycik started it. It provided extensive recruiting news not widely available at the time.
Most websites work through a national network of sites, either scout.com, 247sports.com, SBNation.com, Rivals.com and — for pure fan sites — there is FanSided.com.
Here is a breakdown of what’s available to fans, organized by provider.
Scout Media hosts hundreds of sports sites nationwide. For each of the local sites, you need a subscription (which costs $8.33 a month for an annual pass) to read some of the content.
- The Devils Den (thedevilsden.com) — The site offers stories, videos and forums about the Duke athletics.
- Inside Carolina (insidecarolina.com) — Editor Ben Sherman is part of a staff of 12, in addition to other contributors, who cover the Tar Heels. It began as Inside Carolina Magazine in 1994, but ceased print publication earlier this year — after printing its spring recruiting yearbook — to focus on the online product. It offers stories, photos, videos, podcasts and forums. It has multiple reporters as well a photographer and a videographer credentialed at all UNC football and men’s basketball games. It also has a baseball reporter, and three reporters focused on recruiting.
- Pack Pride (packpride.com) — There are nine main contributors who provide stories, photos, videos and forums about the Wolfpack for this site, which was where some facts about the UNC academic scandal first came to light.
247Sports.com is a national network of websites, mostly focused on college football and college basketball. VIP access ($9.95) is required in order to read some content. According to a report from SportsBusiness Journal on Wednesday,that CBS has signed an agreement to acquire 247Sports.com.
- Carolina Blue (carolinablue.com) —It has published a Carolina Blue print magazine since 1980, now a monthly (edited by Raleigh & Company’s Shawn Krest), and has had an online presence since 1999. It offers stories, photos and forums about the Tar Heels, and its reporters are credentialed at UNC games. Ross Martin is the main writer on the site, which also has a freelance writer and a freelance photographer.
- Blue Devil Lair (bluedevillair.com) — It offers stories, photos and forums on Duke basketball and football.
SB (which stands for sports blog) Nation launched in 2005 and features 309 sites nationwide, including for every ACC school and all but one NHL team.
- Backing the Pack (backingthepack.com) — Steven Muma and Alec Lower are the main writers for this site, with content from Raleigh & Company contributor Austin Johnson and others.
- Canes Country (canescountry.com) — Bob Wage, Brian LeBlanc, Cory Lavalette and Jamie Kellner are among those who write for this site that covers the Carolina Hurricanes, and is credentialed for home games. There is daily coverage, and the site runs features. There was a good feature on John Forslund in August.
- Duke Basketball Report (dukebasketballreport.com) — It has provided interesting and sometimes provocative reading for years, mostly now from J.D. King, but also from two longtime ACC sportswriters — Barry Jacobs and Al Featherston. There also is a forum on the site. Although basketball is in the name of the site, it covers football, in addition to overall ACC stories and commentaries on the UNC academic scandal.
- Tar Heel Blog (tarheelblog.com) — Brian Barbour is the main writer on this site about UNC athletics, but there also are contributions from Paul Kushner and Doc Kennedy. Kennedy offers the weekly good, bad and ugly column about the Tar Heels’ football games, and has written interesting analysis of The News and Observer’s coverage of the UNC academic scandal and the scandal in general. Tar Heel Blog usually has two writers credentialed for every UNC football and at least one for men’s basketball game.
This network of websites launched in 1998. The local sites require you to buy a subscription ($99.96 per year or $9.95 per month) in order to read all of the content.
- Tar Heel Illustrated (tarheelillustrated.com) — Site has stories, photos, videos, podcasts and forums about UNC athletics from its staff of six reporters, including Andrew Jones (who has run the site since August 2014), Jackson (a basketball recruiting specialist) and football and basketball recruiting writer Matthew Hatfield.
- Devils Illustrated (devilsillustrated.com) — Brian McLawhorn runs this site, which has stories, photos and forums about Duke sports.
- The Wolfpacker (wolfpacker.com) — There is a print edition and a digital newsletter that is sent weekly in addition to the stories, videos and forums on the website about N.C. State athletics. It is credentialed for Wolfpacke games.
FanSided calls itself one of the fastest growing networks of fandom-focused sports, entertainment and lifestyle sites on the Internet. The first site was one devoted to the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Ball Durham (balldurham.com) — Stories devoted to Duke sports on this site, which launched in 2009. The editor is Chris Brown.
- Cardiac Cane (cardiaccane.com) — Editor Brett Finger, who is a senior at Millbrook High School, runs this site, which focuses on the Carolina Hurricanes. Wes Hermann started the web page in October 2013, and Finger — who, along with his dad, have been season-ticket holders for several years — took over as editor in May 2014. He has two other writers.
- Keeping It Heel (keepingitheel.com) — This site, launched in 2011, offers stories about UNC athletics. John Bauman and Zack Person are editors of the site, which has about 10 contributors.
Other content sites
Many of the above sites used to be on their own servers or on local servers, and there are still some sites unaffiliated to any school or team that haven’t joined national sites.
- ACCSports.com — The site for the ACC Sports Journal requires a subscription to read the premium content ($129 per year). It produces stories from a staff of two full-time writers and six freelancers. The staff includes ACC Sports Journal editor and statewide talk show host David Glenn, Brick Oettinger, Krest and Mark Carroll. The ACC Sports Journal print edition comes out bi-weekly, in addition to four annual magazine issues: a basketball preview, a football preview, a recruiting magazine and the business of the ACC.
- Blue Devil Nation (bluedevilnation.net) — Full access is $100 a year. Mark Watson covers Duke football and basketball, and it also has a premium message board.
- Canes & Coffee (canesandcoffee.com) — A new Carolina Hurricanes fan site that Matt Karash founded earlier this year.
- Carolina Blitz (carolinablitz.com) — The staff of three, mainly Raleigh & Company contributor Jonas Pope IV and Jibrell Davis, covers the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets and ACC sports. The site is run by Vashti Hurt of Charlotte.
- DNAofsports.com — Founded by Patrick Kinas, the voice of the Durham Bulls, this site has stories on Triangle sports at all levels.
- Pack Insider (packinsider.com) — Stories and forums about N.C. State sports. Reporter is credentialed at Wolfpack games.
- Riddick & Reynolds (riddickandreynolds.com) — Started in 2008, this N.C. State blog features stories and the R&R Podcast.
- Section 328 (section328.com) — Mike Flanagan and Derek Roessler, who watch Carolina Hurricanes games from section 328 and keep games interesting with their cheers, co-founded this fan site, which includes stories and the Cheaters Never Win Podcast.
- SportsChannel 8 (SportsChannel8.com) — A sports news parody site (or as it says “North Carolina’s #1 Sports News Network), it includes humorous videos by Hayes Permar, the producer of The David Glenn Show, with help from Ben Swain and Josh Goodson, with tailgate weather forecasts from “Weather Moose” and other stories from all of them. The website was credentialed for the ACC football championship game.
- State Fans Nation (statefansnation.com) — Stories and forums about N.C. State athletics. The headline on that site after the UNC-N.C. State football game: “Cheaters 45 NC State 34.”
- Tar Heel Depot (tarheeldepot.com) — A site that has been run by Brett Thompson, but it on hiatus until possibly May because he is an intern with Inside Carolina.
- Thrown Away To Worthy (thrownawaytoworthy.com) – Although the name, a reference to the ill-fated pass in the 1982 NCAA tournament final from Fred Brown to James Worthy, would suggest that Bryan Ives’ site is a UNC site, he also writes about the Charlotte Hornets and the Carolina Panthers. Ives is a researcher for ESPNU and SEC Network and a former Inside Carolina writer.
- Triangle Sports Network (trianglesportsnet.com) — Peter Koutroumpis covers college sports, both revenue and non-revenue, soccer and the Carolina Hurricanes on this site that he launched in 2013.
- Triangle Soccer Fanatics (trisoccerfan.com) — Website of TSF, which supports the NASL’s Triangle RailHawks and provides news about the team.
- Watching Durham Bulls Baseball (watchingdurhambullsbaseball.com) — This blog by Durham Bulls fan Chris Wise is a good way to keep up with the many changes that happen over the course of a Triple-A baseball season.
There are two unaffiliated sites that link good stories.
- Duke Update (dukeupdate.com) — This site provides links to stories, videos and box scores related to Blue Devils football and men’s basketball.
- Tar Heel Times (tarheeltimes.com) — This site is an excellent at providing the best links and tweets about all UNC sports in a timely fashion.