Ken Medlin

Deal ends ACC split speculation, indicates network future

Posted April 22, 2013
Updated April 23, 2013

It's over.

The ACC has finally put an end to any speculation of the SEC, Big Ten – or even the Big 12 – poaching its teams. The solution? A grant of media rights agreement, signed by all 15 ACC schools, effective immediately.

Translation: If any ACC school leaves the conference, the ACC retains that school's media rights and revenue.

So unless a school like Florida State wants to play in a conference like the SEC or Big 12 for free, the ACC will be a stable entity for a long time to come.

“I am thrilled with today’s announcement by the Atlantic Coast Conference," said Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. "It is one of the great days in the history of our conference as it shows the highest level of commitment – not by words, but by actions." 

University of North Carolina Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said in a statement, “These are strong and definitive moves by the ACC and its member schools to further announce our desire to stay together and position ourselves among the top conferences in the country." 

The deal also points to the much-discussed possibility of an ACC Network a la the one raking in dough for the Big Ten. 

North Carolina State University Director of Athletics Debbie Yow acknowledged as much Monday in a statement. 

"The assignment of media rights to the ACC by each member guarantees stability in the league, of course. But, it also opens the door more widely to a discussion about an ACC Network, something that a number of ADs believe would further enhance the ACC brand," she said.

Let's face it, conference realignment has been about television dollars from day one. This agreement takes away any chance another conference could lure away an ACC school, because it takes the money out of the equation.

For several years now, fans, media members, conference commissioners and university presidents alike have been acting like kids playing a gigantic game of Risk – moving this school here and that school there as if the consequences were nil.

The result has been a dramatic watering down of several of college athletics' most revered rivalries. No Texas-Texas A&M? No Missouri-Kansas? Maryland to the Big Ten?

"Today’s announcement should put (conference) realignment on the shelf," Cunningham added. "It’s time to put the focus back on celebrating the successes of our students and teams.”

It's time to put the Risk board back on the shelf and start playing Life. It's time to settle down and survey the landscape as it now exists – with the ACC very much alive and kicking for a long time.

Hopefully, this will put an end to any of the wilder speculation locally – the sort of talk that had Carolina and Duke heading for the Big Ten or SEC and State moving to the SEC or Big 12. That stuff might have been interesting fodder for a bar debate, but it has been rendered irrelevant by the grant of rights announcement.

The ACC has its flaws. The media deal with ESPN could be more lucrative, and the conference hasn't set the world on fire in football for more than a decade now. But the league is likely to see improvement in both of those areas.

And more importantly, the ACC is here to stay.

42 Comments

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  • VT1994Hokie Apr 23, 2013

    Swafford made a huge deal with all schools in for the future of the ACC in this one. Awarding TV rights, and the money to schools puts the ACC out there. If any school leaves, they lose money. Virtually, this seals it for the ACC. Maryland will probably wish that they knew about this last year before they made their move. The wish to jump a hurtle will be much higher now.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Apr 23, 2013

    View quoted thread


    They may have voted against it, but I'm sure their contract with the league requires them to abide by decisions where the majority voted a certain way.

    However, Maryland voting against the increased exit fee could give them some leverage in court. They could say, "we disagreed with that exit fee. So we decided to leave." Who knows, a judge could side with them.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Apr 23, 2013

    View quoted thread


    I don't think so. They announced their exit before this was "ratified" or whatever the term is.

    Plus, the ACC's press release explicitly listed all fifteen teams other than Maryland.

  • Good Bye WRAL Apr 23, 2013

    "... But, it also opens the door more widely to a discussion about an ACC Network, something that a number of ADs believe would further enhance the ACC brand," Yow said.

    It used to be about Student-athletes and intercollegiate play. Now it's all about money. Other than the cost of scholarships, the big conferences have a money making machine and their talent sees none of it!

  • JustAName Apr 23, 2013

    One more big scandal and maybe there won't be a NCAA anymore.

  • lec02572 Apr 23, 2013

    If I remember correctly when the vote was taken about the $50k exit fees Maryland and Florida State voted against the plan. That does not mean that they would not have to pay. Majority rules, you know. MD will pay an exit fee either by agreement or by court order in the end and that is what I was talking about earlier about holding up in court. There may be law to prevent contracts like the one just put together by the ACC. I don't know, but I do know that contracts are made to be broken.

  • Ken D. Apr 23, 2013

    Why don't the five power conferences just get it over with a merge into one enormous megaconference that doesn't answer to the NCAA?

  • VT1994Hokie Apr 23, 2013

    Swofford and his committee did a solid job in making this happen. It only helps the ACC.

  • cherokee43v6 Apr 23, 2013

    What this means is that if another conference wants to poach an ACC school they will have to buy the rights from ACC in order for that team to leave.

    It doesn't mean schools can't leave, just that there is an even higher expense to doing so.

  • Ken D. Apr 23, 2013

    View quoted thread


    At the time this was adopted (the rights deal), Maryland is still technically competing in the conference. I wonder if someone will try to make this apply to the Terps, along with the exit fee they didn't agree to.

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