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Pat Narduzzi Sounds Off On Recent Realignment in College Athletics



As Pat Narduzzi has watched the realignment craze around college athletics, with the Pac-12 being torn apart by the Big Ten and Big 12, he has only really worried about the ACC and Pitt.

“And really just Pitt,” Narduzzi said before Monday’s practice.

ACC member officials met this week to discuss the potential of adding Cal, Stanford and SMU to the ACC, with no vote taking place and further discussions still ongoing, but the ACC has largely flown under the radar.

Florida State officials have gone public with their desire to exit the ACC, and there have been rumors swirling for months about other programs that feel the same way, but the current Grant-of-Rights agreement will likely halt any exits. Expansion is still on the table, but Narduzzi isn’t really a fan of such vast expansion.

“I think it’s crazy,” Narduzzi said. “I think it’s all money driven, which is sad. You look at different conferences across the country where they’re going from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and it just doesn’t make sense financially, especially for other sports. I just think it’s crazy. The one thing Commissioner Phillips has done is keep stability in the ACC and everyone can talk about how they didn’t expand, but they’re looking for the right fit, and it’s got to be the right fit.”

The Big Ten now will have member schools spanning from Piscataway, New Jersey to Seattle, Washington, just about 3,000 miles. The Big 12 will have schools ranging from Orlando, Florida to Morgantown, West Virginia to Tempe, Arizona. If the ACC were to add Cal and Stanford, it would have to be renamed the All Coasts Conference.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN’s Paul Finebaum that the SEC doesn’t need to be in four time zones to appeal to the west coast. And as much of a flex that is, it’s the truth. The ACC cannot say the same.

Narduzzi could potentially see an All Coasts Conference kind of deal working for sports like football, with one game per week, but he doesn’t see how it’s feasible for sports that play multiple nights a week.

“To go all the way out on the west coast, does it make sense? You’re not just talking football,” Narduzzi said. “Would we mind a trip to Oregon or wherever it might be for a week? That’s just one time, but when you talk about all the travel for all the different sports and what it does mentally and physically to a student-athlete? I know what it takes going and playing Louisville with the time change or wherever it may be, so I can’t imagine what it does to some of the other ones.”

To be fair, there isn’t a time change in traveling to Louisville. In 2022, the only game where there was a time difference was the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. But the point still stands. And it’s going to be the reality going forward as teams travel from coast to coast on any given day of the week. Narduzzi pointed to negative impacts.

“It’s tough, and you won’t feel the effect for a couple of years, but if you talk to some of the sports, even in recruiting, kids don’t think about all the traveling for the family and the kids until they get there and then they realize all the travel,” Narduzzi said. “You guys have all been on some long flights, and you come back off a red-eye off a game and it takes a day to recover. We don’t have a day. You don’t take the next week off after, we have to go to work and your body and mind will be affected.”

It remains to be seen what will unfold when it comes to the ACC, with expansion potentially on the horizon as presidents and athletic directors continue to meet, but Narduzzi isn’t a fan of the ACC expanding across the country.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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michael willson
michael willson
11 months ago

Do I think this makes sense no I don’t. But unfortunately football is the revenue driver for Power 5 schools which means your confernce has to have the TV revenue. I get Dozz’ point, but when all the conferences are lie this what’s the difference You’re either a have or have not.

11 months ago

At some point, common sense needs to rule over dollars. Probably the best time is when changes negatively impact student health and academics — which is what the proposed conference realignment changes will result in. Could a union for college players be around the corner? Probably so if this trend persists.

11 months ago

Geography aside (although that’s the biggest point to me) … I like Cal and Stanford as schools. Academics are solid and they would be a nice addition. But not sure how many eyeballs (i.e., $$) they would bring outside of the west coast. One thing I don’t like is ND telling the conference what to do. Until their football program is in the ACC, they shouldn’t even have a full vote. Actually, I wonder how many eyeballs ($$) their hoops team, and the other non-revenue sports, bring to the ACC. Maybe it’s a net positive but is it enough to… Read more »

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