18 May, 2023
The world is now aware that some ACC programs are searching for better opportunities. Get ready for possible chaos to break out depending on the course the league chooses.
Leaders of the Atlantic Coast Conference discussed doing what comes naturally in times of realignment drama: issuing a declaration of solidarity among the league’s members as rumors and speculation swirled outside the conference rooms of the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida, this week.
In a minor victory for honesty in a fundamentally dishonest process, the ACC decided against pursuing that concept.
According to one ACC source, “We’re not united.” “Until someone offers a school more to go somewhere else, we’re together. Everyone will try to get it.
This describes the current state of your ACC: situationally and briefly united, with everyone attempting to make the most of the situation while scanning the exits. They are at least honest about it.
The ACC and Pac-12 are currently mired in bicoastal instability in the every-school-for-itself world of collegiate athletics, where there is never enough money. Since USC and UCLA may soon leave for the Big Ten, the Pac-12’s predicament has received greater media attention. The conference is now attempting to hold onto the remainder of its 10-school cohort after previously being pillaged by the Big Ten. The ACC’s unpredictability had been simmering for a while until last week’s high-stakes seven-on-seven scrimmage finally brought it to the fore.
The majority of the 14 football-playing ACC schools met in various configurations on Monday, according to Sports Illustrated, to plan possible exit routes for greener pastures. Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech are the seven schools with the roving eyes. Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Wake Forest are the seven teams on the opposing side.
Attorneys for the prospective The league’s grant of rights agreement, which is valid through 2036, was evaluated by Wandering Seven in an effort to find any gaps. They either want out of their long-term ESPN contract or a way to get more money because it prevents revenue development. The two schools that had publicly made the most fuss about it were Clemson and Florida State, but this week we found out how much company they have.
It appears that some league members were unaware of the seven-on-seven divide, which led to some unusual Monday meeting room dynamics. Whit Babcock, the athletic director at Virginia Tech, used the terms “blindsided” and “shock” in statements to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He also said, “These jobs are hard enough without something knocking you upside the head.”
The upside of this surprise: It forced everyone to be transparent about their goals and sparked open, sincere discussions, according to all involved. Everyone in the ACC ought to have left Amelia Island knowing a lot more about their coworkers’ positions than they did.
These discussions, in particular, paved the way for unequal revenue distribution. In terms of conference harmony, that sounds unsettling, but a performance-based shift away from equal revenue shares is feasible. Your institution will earn more money than others if it competes well at the level of the College Football Playoff in football and the NCAA tournament in men’s basketball.
That’s a simpler method to get an agreement than saying that the brands that are most TV-friendly ought to receive larger shares. Most institutions seem to support the merit-based idea of winning your way to more money.
According to an ACC insider, this created a sense of urgency that sped up discussions regarding how we handle revenue sharing. “Nobody can say it’s unfair if you set expectations and make sure everyone is aware of the rules.”
What kind of money are we discussing? Maybe $10 million year for football players that excel. That’s obviously not inconsequential, especially in a time when athletes are receiving name, image, and likeness payments, and when funding for athlete-first initiatives like mental health, nutrition, and academic support has expanded. But it’s also insufficient to close the gap between the money the ACC schools continue to make from their everlasting ESPN contract and the money the Big Ten and SEC will soon be making.
Jim Phillips, commissioner, has been tasked with solving a problem that appears to be almost insurmountable. In addition, he inherited it from the previous commissioner John Swofford. Phillips is trying to remind his membership that money isn’t everything when it comes to competitive excellence while he searches for innovative solutions.
“I feel really good about the future of the ACC, I do,” he remarked on Wednesday. “There’s no doubt that gap needs to be closed. But in the end, how much [money] is required to win a national championship in basketball, football, or any of our other sports? Must you compete at the highest level? Is it necessary to invest the most money to be the best? I’m not sure whether there has ever been an equation that links the two. It’s undoubtedly beneficial and gives you a better chance.
The two universities that have dominated the league in football for the past ten years or more are Clemson and Florida State, and they may not be paying attention to that message. Together, they have won three national championships (two for the Tigers, one for the Seminoles) and 11 of the last 12 ACC crowns. These two, along with Miami, are the foundational football programs in the conference and may contest the ACC’s grant of rights with the simple invitation from the SEC.
If it comes to that, there are two possible outcomes: either the schools win and the fault lines split the ACC in half, risking financial ruin to leave the league and failing in what would undoubtedly be a protracted court battle. The Big Ten, SEC, and probably the Big 12 would take on the league’s exodus, with a possible Big East football revival uniting the northeastern teams. In other words, chaos would reign.
The stakes in this ACC seven-on-seven scrimmage are extremely high because of this. At least now, following some straightforward discussions at a Florida beach resort, everyone in the league is aware of where they stand and where their teammates stand. temporary and situationally unified.