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.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.