Resources – ACC’s “ongoing momentum” to add schools

drunk houseAspenAugust 28, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. ET4 minutes to read

What’s stopping Cal, Stanford, and SMU from joining the ACC?

Pete Thamel reports on the most recent of the three schools the ACC is looking to add.

A decision on ACC expansion is expected this week, and sources tell ESPN that there is “continued momentum” toward the league adding Stanford, Cal and SMU to the league.

Early Monday morning, ACC officials were working to gather league presidents and chancellors on a call for further discussion and possibly a vote on the issue.

After a weekend of talks, a source told ESPN that details of the potential additions are “only in pencil”, but are poised to happen. One of four ACC schools that have Previously contested additions — Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina State and North Carolina — need to change their votes, and that is expected to happen this week.

The situation is fluid and nothing has been finalized, sources warned ESPN. But the general trend out of the talks over the weekend is that the league is getting closer to formalizing the additions.

While there is momentum towards additions, a decision in either case will come in the early part of this week. This is the fourth week that ACC officials have been discussing potential additions, and there is a “now or never” tone hanging over the next few days.

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips discussed potential additions with ACC chairs in small groups last week. Phillips also spent the better part of the week having smaller conversations with the four “no” schools trying to convince them of the expansion plan, multiple sources told ESPN’s Andrea Adelson. One source indicated that Phillips would like a unanimous vote on the expansion because he sees it as a big win for the conference, particularly as a way to secure its future. After weeks of conflict, a unanimous vote will indicate that all league members are committed and supportive of the decision.

ACC officials are still communicating how the pool of funds will be divided among ACC members after the three schools join.

SMU is expected to join the league without broadcast media revenue for seven years, according to ESPN sources. Cal and Stanford are expected to join initially with about 30% of the shares.

This is expected to generate a pool of $50 to $60 million annually to be divided among the ACC schools. Some of this will be distributed to all members, and the rest will be put into a bucket for success initiatives. Discussion of this pool of funds focuses on how to divide it up to everyone’s satisfaction—considering CFP appearances, ACC tournament appearances, ACC tournament appearances, and bowl appearances. One source believes there should be a stepwise approach to how the pot money is divided; The Orange Bowl appearance should be more valuable than the Pinstripe Bowl appearance, for example. There is also an ongoing discussion about how much Notre Dame will share in the additional money the league will receive from the new schools.

The ACC has been discussing success initiatives since May that are expected to be implemented for the 2024-25 season. When the ACC announced these initiatives, it indicated that the details were “still being worked out”.

Another source noted that the addition of these three schools is necessary not only for long-term security but also to help close the revenue gap with the SEC and Big Ten, which is set to grow to nearly $30 million annually. The source said that this current plan is “the only thing that gets us closer to closing that gap” compared to other options that have been floated.

All three schools are expected to enter for the 2024-25 season in all sports. The potential move comes after the Pac-12 surged on the heels of eight schools leaving in recent weeks.

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson contributed to this report.

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