Don’t look now, but it appears that the ACC will decide this week whether or not to expand.
After continued discussion over the weekend, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that ACC officials are working to gather presidents and chancellors on a call at some point this week. He further reported that while nothing is currently finalized, a decision is expected to be made this week — either way — when it comes to adding Cal, Stanford and SMU.
Additionally, Thamel reported that ACC officials are still trying to figure out how the money made by adding Cal, Stanford and SMU would be distributed amongst the member schools.
Sources: After a weekend of conversations, there’s continued momentum toward the ACC adding Stanford, Cal and SMU. ACC officials are working on gathering the presidents/chancellors on a call, which is expected to take place at some point early this week.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 28, 2023
According to Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger, the ACC could earn just about $72 million in new money by adding Cal, Stanford and SMU to the conference.
“The ACC’s television contract with ESPN includes a pro-rata clause requiring the network to increase the value of the deal by one Tier 1 share for every new member — believed to be about $24 million a share, or about 70% of a full ACC share, which includes Tiers 1-3,” Dellenger wrote.
He further reported that Cal and Stanford have agreed to take roughly 30% of the $24 million share, and after those shares and travel costs are factored in, the ACC could earn at least $30 million in revenue to be distributed via incentive pools based on athletic success. Those incentives are likely to be weighted heavily toward football success — championships, bowl assignments and end-of-the-year rankings.
Thamel reported that the expected new revenue for each ACC school is between $50 and $60 million annually, with the rest of the money placed in a pool for success initiatives.
SMU, which is currently a member of the AAC, would reportedly propose taking no revenue for the first seven years of its ACC membership.
Cal, Stanford and SMU, who have received national support from the likes of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former President George Bush, 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 still need to flip one of the dissenting voters.
It was Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and North Carolina State that initially opposed adding Cal, Stanford and SMU. Which, of course, means that Pitt is in favor of expansion. But with new financial opportunities, that could tip the scales.
All talk of ACC exits has been halted for now, with expansion more feasible — and more widely accepted than splitting apart. Adding the likes of Cal, SMU or Stanford won’t close the gap between the ACC and the Big Ten or SEC, but it’s the required move when it comes to staying afloat in college athletics these days.
The financial situation of adding the Pac-12 leftovers and SMU will clearly be major talking points moving forward, as financial discussions will dominate realignment talk as a whole, but the conference finally appears to be right on the brink of expansion.
Expect additional news to emerge as ACC Presidents and Chancellors convene this week.