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ACC in the morning: Ladies in the locker room? Not at Miami

7/30/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Yes, I have been in plenty of men's locker rooms -- mainly MLB, NFL and NCAA hoops.

Never had a problem (well, except that one time I meant to go OUT of the locker room at Georgia Tech and accidentally walked INTO Gary Williams' dressing room, but he was dressed and that was nothing more than a face-flushing-shirt-buttoning-oh-@#*& experience that lasted all of two seconds and was never mentioned again).

There won't be embarrassing moments of any kind this year in Coral Gables.

Miami coach Randy Shannon said he wants to close the locker room after games because "some young ladies are over in the locker room that they go to school with, that are, what you call, reporters also."

Yes, Randy, there are a few of us who are, what you call, reporters. You've got a very capable woman -- Susan Miller Degnan -- who's been covering your program for the Miami Herald for years.

And she can do it just as well without having to go in the locker room.

Aside from going into NCAA football locker rooms on non-game days, taking tours and moments like that, I don't think I've ever been in one after a game. Nor do I want to.

NFL locker rooms are disgusting. They reek of ego and sweat. There are too many players. There's tape all over the floors and it sticks to your shoes.

NCAA basketball is different because there are only about 12 players, which makes it easy for a team spokesperson or manager to make sure everyone is dressed before waving us inside. (And when I'm around, they usually yell "FEMALE!" like something is flying at your head and you have to duck, but hey, whatever works). 

There is a definite advantage to being allowed into a locker room like that because you can capture the mood. I remember how somber it was at the Final Four when George Mason lost, and that magical ride was over. You also have access to EVERY player on the roster, and assistants are usually wandering around. Of course, there are times when I wish I had been in a football locker room -- like to see Frank Beamer dancing a little hip-hop dance after they won the ACC title.

It's as personal as letting somebody into your living room.

Or, in some cases, your frat house.

Most programs I've been to take interview requests and then bring the football players to the press room or outside to talk to you. The important thing is that you get to talk to the players you need, and it sounds like Shannon is willing to accommodate on that.

If any of his Hurricanes think they're going to play in the NFL, though, they might want to get used to, you know, reporters. All of 'em.