ACC commissioner John Swofford looked like he had everything figured out this fall, when he sniped Notre Dame from the Big East. He grabbed the Irish full-time in everything but football and hockey and locked his conference down by instituting a $50 million exit fee.
Fifty million dollars is no pocket change—or so he thought.
With news breaking Friday of Maryland’s possible exit from the ACC, where does the conference go from here. If a fence $50 million high can’t keep programs at home, what will?
CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd speculates:
“Unless there is that larger strategy at work here. Unless the age of superconferences really is upon us and the Big Ten is going to lead the way. Why stop at 14, when it can go 16 when it gets a foothold on the East Coast? Does this move eventually pry North Carolina loose?
And if [Big Ten commissioner] Jim Delany gets his alma mater, we’re talking realignment Armageddon. Then what is an ACC worth to Notre Dame without North Carolina and Maryland?”
Would North Carolina really leave the ACC altogether? There is always the possibility that they take a route similar to Notre Dame, moving to the Big Ten for football and preserving the hoops rivalry with the Blue Devils in the ACC.
Is this the first step toward a move widespread merger between the ACC and Big Ten, where we ultimately have a mega-conference reaching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Midwestern plains?
We already have a Big East that reaches from Providence, R.I., to San Diego, Calif. Nothing seems out of the question now.