UNC Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham has had a lot to say this week as college athletics have entered chaos. THB writer Max Sloan discussed some of his comments from an interview that he did on 99.9 The Fan, saying that he still felt like the ACC could be a very good conference for years to come. Now he has doubled down on his comments despite increasing rumors that UNC is digging deep into what they can and can’t do with the Grant of Rights.
Here is what Cunningham had to say about where UNC stands with the ACC, per the News & Oberver:
“The ACC’s a great league for us,” Cunningham said. “We have no plans to leave the ACC. We’re going to strengthen the ACC and do everything we can to make our league as good as we possibly can. We’re going to value what we have. I’m not going to look over my shoulder at what we don’t have.”
There’s no other way to interpret Cunningham’s words other than UNC will at minimum stay with the ACC until the current TV deal has expired. Can his comments be trusted? That will be the question for many UNC fans, because honestly who can trust anybody in college athletics anymore? A week ago the Pac-12 was still negotiating a new deal with Apple, and now the conference is down to just four members after everyone except Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State, and Cal jumped ship.
As it stands now, the Pac-12 Conference is down to 4 teams in 2024 pic.twitter.com/UdSRMmDtU7— On3 (@On3sports) August 4, 2023
Then of course there is the nonsense happening down in Tallahassee involving Florida State, a school that is so desperate to make more revenue that they are consulting...JPMorgan Chase?
EXCLUSIVE: Florida State University is working with JPMorgan Chase to explore how the school’s athletic department could raise capital from institutional funds, such as private equity https://t.co/0hg95TUofu— Sportico (@Sportico) August 4, 2023
If nothing else, Bubba Cunningham’s words serve as a reassuring statement that Tar Heels fans have nothing to worry about at least for another academic year. Florida State’s bellowing about leaving the conference has been enough to raise questions yet again about what ACC members’ exit options are, but the answer remains the same: unless a majority of the schools want to leave, nobody is gong anywhere without paying a lot of money. Even if they were able to come up with the money, UNC would then have to find a conference that had enough money to give them to join them. The more the Big Ten and SEC load up, the less money there is to distribute, and the less appetizing the idea of leaving is. Yes, I stand by it not being an open and shut case despite what Cunningham said, but truly I don’t think it’s in UNC’s best interest to do anything unless the majority of the conference decides they want to bail.
What do you think of Cunningham’s latest comments? Let us know in the comments below.