Jeff Gravley

Old ACC vs new ACC

Posted July 1, 2013
Updated July 2, 2013

It was a grand setting in New York City for the ACC to lay out a welcome mat for Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. But while the league toasted its new arrivals with lobster, many are left with a bad taste in their mouths over the ACC's most recent expansion.

"Eight is the perfect number for a conference," commented a reader of one of our ACC stories on

Eight may have been good in the golden years, but not now. In the current climate, eight teams in a conference will get your league sucked up by the vacuum of expansion. 

I was all for inviting Florida State into the league back in 1991. The addition of Virginia Tech and Miami in 2004 raised a few eyebrows, and the addition of Boston College the following year generated eye rolls all over the country. Now, add three more to the list.

It makes a lot of sense from the league's standpoint, and I'm really excited to introduce Louisville into the mix next year, even if it cost us Maryland. 

It's all a part of a business plan, and college athletics became as much business as sport many, many years ago. I can remember a year ago there were reports all across the country that the ACC had been weakened and was in danger of extinction.

Credit the league and John Swofford for stepping up with a home run and a 3-run triple. The home run was the grant of rights the current and future 15 members agreed to that would cost schools that leave the league ALL of the money earned in future TV money. The 3-run triple is Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. A run-scoring gapper comes next year with Louisville's arrival.

The ACC had to make moves to grow in number and stature, even at the expense of losing tradition and year-to-year match-ups that have been going on for years. Coaches like the larger footprint because it helps recruiting. Kids like to go to schools where their families can watch them play, either in person or on TV. 

Feel free to gripe. You have every right. Change is hard to take, but the alternative would have been more painful. Had the ACC remained at eight and not opened its doors to expansion, the league would have folded. That's an unattractive option none of us would have wanted to live through.


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  • VT1994Hokie Jul 3, 2013

    I have been a fan of the ACC much longer than some that have moved into our State or even in the original ACC states. I went to games years ago in Winston-Salem when the Big Four ruled. You can be a fan now for any school on here, but to lose the History of those that framed the ACC doesn't make too many feel all that good. Money always rules. I'm mostly Virginia Tech since 1990, but my roots were with UNC long before then. Most of the old timers don't like it.

  • AaronT Jul 3, 2013

    Jeff, you have a way of putting everything just right! I agree that the move that Swofford and Company made in bringing in the newest league additions really saved the ACC from possible extinction. As a native to the Triangle area, I grew up watching ACC sports from the old days of Castleman D. Chesley's broadcasts of ACC basketball to the present. While it is difficult to accept the "new" ACC, it is necessary to salute it. We gave birth to this league, nourished it and watch it grow and compete on a national level. It is really darn hard to say, but it is good. I may not roll out the red carpet for the new schools, but I hope they help in bringing great ratings. But honestly, no ACC seal? Now that is sad!

  • lec02572 Jul 3, 2013

    I think it horrible that the local schools don't play eachother every year in football and a home and away game in basketball. Hard to keep it exciting. Expanding your footprint is ok, but be careful. How has that worked out for NASCAR? They don't sell out most races and tv viewership has dropped every year over the pas several years. Oh well, guess I will either have to give up my season tickets or sell them to someone who wants to go see the new ACC.

  • StunGunn Jul 3, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I'm a Heels fan, but also a fan of the ACC. I like the conference, always have. Do I like the "Old ACC" better? Sure! But that "Old ACC" wouldn't be viable in today's sports landscape. I think The Swoff did a terrific job in protecting the ACC. Expansion is better than extinction.

  • VT1994Hokie Jul 2, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I have to acknowledge your second paragraph, simply because I recall this. Not many fans truly like this expansion. When you take the big 4 out of the equation with not being allowed to play each other on a consistent basis is totally wrong. This will have to change in the near future. All of these shools presently in the ACC will not last over the long haul.

  • IBleedRedandWhite Jul 2, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Comparing someone's view on sports to their political association is asinine and close minded in itself lumping all types of people into one category. I happen to consider myself conservative and a State fan and see this expansion as a positive. Adding Syracuse, Louisville, and Pitt will do wonders for basketball. Yes, it stinks for football (except for Louisville who seems to be on the up and up) but anyone who ever associated the ACC with football needs to go on down the road to the SEC.

    The only one I do not agree with is ND. They should either be a full member or not a member at all. As Coach K stated, why is it ok for them but not ok for Duke or Carolina to keep their basketball dollars but stay members in everything else? I can't wait to see teams like Louisville, Pitt, Cuse, and others to come to Raleigh! Great games, better TV coverage, and a potential for more network dollars for a stronger conference!

  • Ken D. Jul 2, 2013

    View quoted thread

    For those with short memories, football drove the creation of the ACC, not basketball. And even in those days, the ACC was a second rate football league. People who live in North Carolina remember the old ACC basketball rivalries fondly because, frankly, they were usually the ones on top. If you ask fans of the other original schools, their view of the ACC is a bit different.

  • Yellow Rider Jul 2, 2013

    Once a conference gets past 12 teams, I don't think it's really one conference anymore. It's more like two conferences with a scheduling agreement.

  • gt_football Jul 2, 2013

    Hey WRAL, please move Mandy Mitchell to the lead sports anchor and dump this hack.

  • Barely Jul 2, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Again... agreed.




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