While the phrase “silly season” is often used as a label for the coaching carousel, the same label could be applied to conference realignment. So many rumors to be dissected, leaving fans downright confused in some cases.
With the current climate in mind the ACC Council or Presidents released a statement today, with the signed administrators pledging allegiance to the conference.
“We, the undersigned presidents of the Atlantic Coast Conference, wish to express our commitment to preserve and protect the future of our outstanding league. We want to be clear that the speculation about ACC schools in negotiations or considering alternatives to the ACC are totally false. The presidents of the ACC are united in our commitment to a strong and enduring conference. The ACC has long been a leader in intercollegiate athletics, both academically and athletically, and the constitution of our existing and future member schools will maintain the ACC’s position as one of the nation’s premier conferences.”
Fr. William Leahy, Boston College
Mr. James Barker, Clemson University
Dr. Richard Brodhead, Duke University
Dr. Eric Barron, Florida State University
Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson, Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. James Ramsey, University of Louisville
Dr. Donna Shalala, University of Miami
Dr. Holden Thorp, University of North Carolina
Dr. Randy Woodson, North Carolina State University
Fr. John Jenkins, University of Notre Dame
Dr. Mark Nordenberg, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University
Dr. Teresa Sullivan, University of Virginia
Dr. Charles Steger, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Dr. Nathan Hatch, Wake Forest University
There you have it.
But given the many statements made by college administrators during this decade of shuffling, why should we believe them?
A big reason for skepticism: there’s been no grant of rights agreement by the ACC schools. Words are great and they sound nice, but at the end of the day it’s the money that speaks loudest. The Big 12, upon making a new media rights deal with ESPN and Fox Sports, added a 13-year grant of rights.
That means that if a school were to leave the conference before the league’s media deal expired (in the case of the Big 12 that’s 2024-25), the conference would retain the school’s media rights and revenue.
According to ESPN.com the ACC statement was initiated by the presidents at Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, the five schools most recently rumored to be the focus of a league such as the Big 12 or the Big Ten.
But without the granting of media rights (and the fact that the ACC and Maryland are in court over that $52 million exit fee, so who knows how much the departing Terrapins will ultimately pay) there just isn’t a great deal of muscle behind the statement.
Should there be this level of pessimism in regards to the statements of school presidents? No, but thanks to past actions there is.