None of the 14 ACC schools voted to leave the conference ahead of the 2024 season, but that doesn’t mean expansion still cannot be undertaken.
According to numerous reports, there is a meeting between the ACC Presidents Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. Understandably, there’s an expectation that the meeting concerns Pac-12 leftovers Cal and Stanford and a vote to see if anything has changed since previous discussions fell apart.
Cal and Stanford, who have received national support from the likes of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, would need to receive 12 ‘yes’ votes in order to be accepted into the ACC. The 14 member schools, plus Notre Dame, which votes as a full member, will need to flip one of the dissenting voters.
According to SI’s Pat Forde, it was Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and North Carolina State that opposed adding Cal and Stanford — and SMU. Which, of course, means that Pitt is in favor of expansion.
The ACC’s complicated Grant-of-Rights agreement will make even expansion difficult, but the AP’s Ralph Russo reported last week that Stanford would be willing to join the ACC even if it meant greatly reduced or no media rights payouts for several years.
“Leaders from Stanford, California, Oregon State and Washington State spoke Thursday, and Stanford told its colleagues it had informed the ACC that it would be open to joining the conference at greatly reduced or even no media rights payout for several years, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press,” Russo wrote.
It would be nearly impossible for any ACC member program to get out of the current Grant-of-Rights agreement, but it appears that expansion would be much more feasible — and more widely accepted than splitting apart. However, it remains to be seen how adding the likes of Cal, SMU or Stanford would move the needle.
With the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 all growing over the last couple of years, inking new TV deals, the ACC isn’t in a position to strike a new deal. But the conference can do whatever it can to remain profitable.
Tuesday morning’s meeting, if a school like North Carolina State is willing to flip its vote, could usher in the age of a new-look ACC in 2024 and beyond.