Deal ends ACC split speculation, indicates network future
Posted April 22, 2013
Updated April 23, 2013
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.