Why major conference realignment may be over for the foreseeable future

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The ACC has reportedly agreed to a 15-team grant of media rights deal that will extend through the 2026-2027 season. The news was first reported by David Glenn but has since been confirmed by multiple outlets.

If this report turns out to be true and this agreement is signed by the schools in the ACC, it could end major conference realignment for quite some time.

For those that don’t know, a grant of media rights is a simple concept: it’s an agreement that grants the rights to the television broadcasts for the school to the conference for a certain period of time. What that means is that if North Carolina, for example, were to leave the ACC after this agreement was signed, all of the money that they would stand to receive from TV contracts would go back to the ACC until 2027. Seeing as the entire reason behind conference realignment was the result of the differences in revenue generated by TV contracts, a grant of media rights contract is the best way to lock a team into a league.

Look at it like this: the grant of media rights deal last for 14 more years. At an average of, let’s say, $20 million a year generated in TV revenue, leaving the ACC this summer would cost a school $280 million. That ain’t happening.

Remember when the Big 12 was dropped to 10 teams and everyone thought the conference was getting ready to implode? They signed a grant of media rights deal. They are doing just fine.

The ACC was the league that everyone expected would be the next to get raided. Depending on where you looked, you could find everyone from Florida State and Georgia Tech, to Clemson and Virginia, and even UNC getting tied up in ‘they are going to be leaving the ACC’ rumors. If the Big Ten wanted to expand, grabbing the North Carolina and Atlanta TV markets wasn’t a bad way to go about doing it.

But that looks like it is about to end.

So with the ACC and the Big 12 locked into a grant of media rights deal and with the Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC making money hand over fist with their TV networks, it looks like major conference realignment may be coming to a halt.

This is good news for everyone … except Cincinnati, South Florida and UConn.

Looks like they’re going to be stuck in the AAC for quite some time.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two¬†appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?