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#pounditTuesday, June 18, 2024

Reason ACC could add Pac-12 schools revealed

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Sep 19, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; General view of the Atlantic Coast Conference logo on a yard marker during the game between the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Syracuse Orange in the third quarter at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse won 30-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC is said to be seriously considering adding three schools in an expansion effort, and now we know the real reason for the potential moves.

Cal, Stanford and SMU have been pushing to join the ACC, and the member schools were even planning to vote Monday on adding the three schools.

Cal and Stanford have strong academic reputations and lots of history with their athletic programs. However, both schools have leadership that lacks interest in football and men’s basketball, and both schools have apathetic fanbases. SMU is trying to play with the big boys but has a small enrollment and not a big history of successful athletic programs.

The schools don’t have a lot of appeal as additions, which is why the Big Ten left Cal and Stanford behind. The Big 12 also added four schools from the Pac-12, but not Cal or Stanford. The ACC even previously declined to add the schools.

So what would be the ACC’s motivation for adding the schools? The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy shared the likely reason. The ACC has 15 current member schools. ESPN has the contractual right to renegotiate the ACC’s media deal if the conference’s membership drops below 15. ESPN might like that opportunity in order to reduce their fees.

Adding three extra schools could provide some insurance for the conference in preserving their media rights deal in case other member schools leave. Clemson and Florida State have been making noise about wanting a more favorable revenue share. They could be potential additions if the SEC decided to expand. The SEC also might consider the Virginia schools (Virginia and Virginia Tech) as well as the North Carolina schools (North Carolina and NC State).

Grabbing Cal, Stanford and SMU doesn’t make sense on the surface. But now you see what makes the addition of them more attractive — it’s more of a technicality — and comes down to money, as always.

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