After a lot of speculation that a new ACC could be announced before fall hits, the league members voted this morning to bring Cal, Stanford, and SMU into the conference. This now means that there will be 18 members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, with three of them hailing from the west coast.
Here is what ACC commissioner Jim Phillips had to say about the addition of the three schools to WRAL:
“This will help the ACC in multiple ways.”
Let’s just focus on this very simple, yet confusing comment first. Nobody has actually stated how the ACC is helped in this particular situation, because what we know so far is that the West Coast trio will take less money than everybody else, ESPN as far as we know aren’t going to give the league any money that was reported at the time of this being written, and logistics have become extremely messy for everyone. So, Jim Phillips, how exactly does this help?
One way it does help in a very technical sense is that it keeps the ACC from looking like a poverty conference when compared to the member count of the Big Ten and the SEC. If we’re counting “affiliate institutions,” the Big Ten will have 20 members starting in 2024, and the SEC will 16. This means that the ACC will land smack dab in the middle when it comes to head count, which is great if all you cared about is the amount of schools. This means that technically Philips is overseeing a league that appears to be doing well because it isn’t dissolving like what we just saw with the Pac-12, right?
A couple of big issues: the first being travel logistics. While this deal is going to be bad for the current ACC schools when it comes to traveling to the west coast for games, it’s going to be even worse for Cal, Stanford, and SMU. Imagine agreeing to less money to join a conference, having to spend 95% of your time on the opposite side of the country, further burning any money you are making, and getting recruits to agree to spend that much time away from their friends and family. The lack of geographical restrictions while also being willing to do the craziest stuff for the sake of financial gain has truly taken college athletics into the era of being pro sports wearing a hat.
One final note is that UNC openly rejected the idea of expanding the conference last night. Here is what they said:
“The strong majority of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees opposes the proposed expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference to include Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Southern Methodist University,” the statement read. “Although we respect the academic excellence and the athletic programs of those institutions, the travel distances for routine in-conference competitive play are too great for this arrangement to make sense for our student athletes, coaches, alumni and fans.
“Furthermore, the economics of this newly imagined transcontinental conference do not sufficiently address the income disparity ACC members face. Without ironclad assurances that the proposed expansion serves the interest of UNC-Chapel Hill, we believe it should be voted down.”
Probably not good to upset your most profitable school, right? Majority votes are what they are, but this doesn’t seem ideal for when the really bad ESPN deal expires. Just saying.
Anyways, what do all of you think of the expansion? Let us know in the comments below.