Former U.S. President George Bush and former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice are working to try and get both SMU and Stanford into the ACC, according to Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated.
The collapse of the Pac-12 started with both USC and UCLA announcing their decision to leave for the Big Ten in July 2022. Colorado started the leave this summer by announcing their decision to return to the Big 12, with Arizona, Arizona State and Utah choosing to join them shortly after. Oregon and Washington also decided to join the Big Ten with USC and UCLA, albeit, with a worse deal than than them.
Washington State, Oregon State, Cal and Stanford are the only four teams remaining in the Pac-12. This 2023-24 academic year is the last that the conference will have 12 members.
The ACC is the only Power 5 conference to not add or lose any teams, as the SEC will add Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 in 2024. There has been discussions of expansion with Cal and Stanford both heavily a part of them. SMU is also willing to put up a lot of money to join the ACC from the American conference.
“Those schools and a third aspiring member, SMU, have been enlisting “big guns” to lobby on their behalf,” Forde wrote. “Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been making calls on behalf of Stanford, as has internet innovator Jerry Yang. SMU, meanwhile, has enlisted former President George W. Bush, one source says.”
The ACC did not have enough votes to add Cal and Stanford into the ACC, as four schools opposed the expansion. Those schools are Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and North Carolina State.
The conference needs 12 of its 15 members to vote yes on bringing teams on. Without the 12 schools needed for support of the move, it is unlikely that there will be a formal vote on whether or not to expand the conference.
Pitt is reportedly in favor of bringing in both Cal and Stanford into the conference, with athletic director Heather Lyke largely in favor.
Time will tell whether bringing in George Bush and Rice will change the ACC schools view on opposing to expand, but it appears as if ACC and the potential for realignment has just begun.