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The ACC Officially Welcomes New Members

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ACC Football media days.

The ACC has officially gotten bigger.

The ACC member schools voted last year to add Cal, Stanford and SMU to its ranks, and as of today, July 1, the ACC has grown from 15 schools to 18 schools. The ACC is no longer exclusive to the Atlantic coast.

There are now two California schools and a Texas school in the ACC, which is just the latest consequence of the rapidly expanding nature of college athletics.

The ACC needed 12 ‘yes’ votes to expand, and with North Carolina State flipping in favor of expansion after initially voting against expansion, it received the 12 votes it needed.

Pitt was one of the 12 schools in favor of expansions, and Chancellor Joan Gabel and athletic director Heather Lyke officially welcomed the three newcomers last September:

“The University of Pittsburgh enthusiastically welcomes Southern Methodist University, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, to the Atlantic Coast Conference. During this time of change in intercollegiate athletics, the addition of these three institutions with legacies of academic and athletic excellence solidifies and enhances the future of the ACC.

“The interests and well-being of our student athletes have been, and always will be, our top priority when making these decisions. The expansion provides exciting new opportunities to compete and achieve at the highest levels, both in the class and in our athletic arenas. We look forward to future collaborations and competitions with our new ACC colleagues.”

Cal, Stanford and SMU will begin ACC play in the 2024 season, in all sports, and all three have agreed to unequal revenue sharing. According to The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel, Cal and Stanford will receive 30% in the first seven years, 70% in the eighth year, 75% in the ninth year and 100% in the last three years.

SMU will receive no revenue shares over the first nine years, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported.

That revenue will be circulated back into the ACC, with all 14 previous full-time members and Notre Dame receiving a reported $50-60 million — and additional revenue able to be earned through winning.

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 practice last September.

The ACC has been through quite a bit over the last 12 months, with expansion and the Clemson/Florida State lawsuits, but the conference has continued to grow. It’s not as if the ACC has been stagnant while college football has continued to evolve.

“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.”

Pitt will host Cal and travel to Texas to face off against SMU next season. It’s the beginning of the new age of ACC football — and athletics.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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