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The ACC has continued to meet regarding possible expansion of teams that are still clinging to the lifeboat that is the Pac-12. There is a problem though, with multiple schools not fully onboard with the potential additions.
After meeting on Wednesday night, ACC presidents decided they would not vote on the potential additions, leaving Cal and Stanford whistling in the wind for the time being. There are numerous holdups with the potential expansion, mostly centered around revenue shares and the West Coast travel. This doesn’t just apply to football, which has been a hot-button topic in these meetings.
As for the television revenue, the ACC would be getting around $40-42 million from its media distribution, which includes everything from bowl games to NCAA Tournament money. In terms of additional teams, ESPN is looking to pay the ACC a pro rata sum, meaning each school would get around $34 million for any expansion teams to the conference.
But, there is a kicker to the media rights revenue distribution. Both Cal and Stanford could enter the league at a discounted price, while the remaining money would be split between other ACC members. This is one of the solutions the ACC is hoping would satisfy a team like Florida State.
At the moment, any deal with Cal and Stanford needs a lifeline.
But, there has been increased pushback from some members of the conference as they weigh the option of adding two teams from the West Coast, according to multiple sources. Travel expenses could offset any type of additional revenue members of the conference would get, so the price of adding two more teams might not be worth it.
The ACC is being nudged in the direction of adding Stanford and Cal from Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are independent from the ACC in football, but get a full vote on the expansion issue.
What Comes Next For The ACC?
The SMU Mustangs have been looking for a way into the ACC for some time now. Boosters for the school are so hellbent on the team being added to the conference that they are willing to make up the difference in what SMU doesn’t receive in its first few years in the ACC. This means SMU is willing to forfeit any revenue from the conference for potentially the first five years in the conference.
Yes, this is a pretty bold strategy, as the Mustangs could be forfeiting over $130 million if they went this route. SMU wants in the Power-5 club and the school is willing to do whatever it takes to get a membership card. At the end of the day, this could end up being a wasted proposal, as some ACC presidents are not onboard with the Mustangs joining at the moment. Now, this could all change, but at this moment, it’s a tough decision.
As for Cal and Stanford, they would receive a reduced rate to join the conference, which is better than what the Pac-12 was offering in its Apple deal.
But, there are enough presidents who are looking for more information on possible expansion that a vote has not taken place. At the end of the day, both schools are looking at backup plans, which might end up being the route they have to take at the end.
Now, we wait to see how many times ACC presidents decide to meet over the next few days. If this expansion talk with Cal and Stanford comes to a complete halt, the conference will have to find additional ways to create revenue.
Don’t stray far, as recent history has proven anything can happen when it comes to realignment and expansion in 2023.