24 August, 2023
The Atlantic Coast Conference is once again contemplating adding Cal, Stanford, and SMU to the league, according to sources who spoke with Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated. Pete Thamel of ESPN was the first to report on the development.
A select group of ACC presidents met Wednesday morning, per Thamel’s report, to discuss the financial implications of the additions. The financial models presently under consideration would require Stanford, Cal, and SMU to make substantial financial concessions in order to join the conference.
According to reports, SMU has indicated a willingness to forsake broadcast media revenue during its first seven seasons in the ACC. Stanford and Cal would receive the same media revenue share reduction from the league’s television contract with ESPN and its affiliates.
Thamel added that additional meetings are anticipated this week and that only one of UNC, NC State, Clemson, and FSU must vote “yes” for the other three new schools to join, assuming the other 11 member schools are still in favor of adding the three schools under the proposed financial models. Forde emphasizes that no official vote will be conducted unless a “yes” vote is assured by at least 12 members.
Importantly, the proposed financial model is anticipated to establish a pool of money from the addition of the three institutions, and conference presidents are reportedly discussing how the new money will be distributed. Florida State president Robert McCullough called for “a radical change to the revenue distribution” at a board of trustees meeting earlier this month, when school leaders considered leaving the ACC. The Seminoles had until August 15 to proclaim their decision through the 2024 season, but the deadline passed without an official announcement.
According to Thamel, a formal decision on the conference additions is likely to be made within a week.