ACC Welcomes Stanford, Cal, and SMU in Latest College Reconfiguration


The Atlantic Coast Conference Expands with Addition of Stanford, Cal, and SMU

Posted on: September 5, 2023, 08:27h.

Last updated on: September 5, 2023, 08:27h.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is expanding with the approval of Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley (Cal), and Southern Methodist University (SMU). These new additions will join the league next summer, just in time for the 2024-25 football season. With these additions, the ACC will have a total of 18 members, including Notre Dame who remains independent in football.

Stanford Quarterback Ashton Daniels
Stanford quarterback Ashton Daniels throws a pass during the recent game against Hawaii., pictured above. Stanford, Cal, and SMU are each heading to the ACC as the league’s newest members. (Image: Getty Images)

According to reports, the approval by the presidents representing the current members was a close vote with a 12-to-3 margin. Clemson, Florida State, and the University of North Carolina reportedly opposed the additions, but North Carolina State changed its stance at the last minute. The ACC board of directors, led by University of Virginia’s President James Ryan, also gave their approval.

Financial Considerations

As part of the agreement, Stanford and Cal, both prestigious academic institutions with strong financial resources, will receive a lower share of media rights revenue for about 30% of the total. They will contribute a portion of their revenue to the conference for a decade before receiving the full amount in the 10th year. On the other hand, SMU will not receive any media rights revenue from the conference for nine years but will still benefit from revenue generated by college football playoffs, the NCAA tournament, and bowl games during that period.

The addition of these three universities is expected to increase the ACC’s media rights revenue by approximately $72 million, according to reports. This could potentially address concerns from certain ACC members, such as Florida State, who feel they receive inadequate payouts compared to other conferences like the Big 10 or the SEC.

Impact on Conferences and National Affiliations

The expansion of the ACC has implications for other conferences as well. SMU will be leaving the American Athletic Conference (AAC), while Cal and Stanford are departing from the struggling Pac-12 conference. As a result, the Pac-12 will be left with only Oregon State and Washington State, who may seek new affiliations with conferences like the Mountain West or the American Athletic.

These moves are part of a larger trend of universities across the country exploring conference affiliations. The University of Connecticut (UConn), for example, remains independent in football and is affiliated with the Big East for most other sports. Other universities such as the University of South Florida, San Diego State University, Tulane, and Army are also potential additions to various college conferences.

In recent developments, the Pac-12 is losing Utah, Colorado, Arizona State, and Arizona to the Big 12, while UCLA and the University of Southern California are moving to the Big Ten. Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Throughout the evaluation process, the ACC Board of Directors, led by President Ryan, was deliberate in prioritizing the best possible athletic and academic experience for our student-athletes and in ensuring that the three universities would strengthen the league in all possible ways.

Conclusion

While the expanded ACC will result in longer travel times for collegiate athletes, the conference remains positive about the new additions. ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are thrilled to welcome three world-class institutions to the ACC, and we look forward to having them compete as part of our amazing league.” Overall, the ACC’s expansion signals the ever-changing landscape of college sports conferences and the ongoing quest for competitive advantage and financial stability.

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