The ACC is one of the premier conferences throughout college sports, adding three powerhouses for college basketball with the addition of the Syracuse Orange, Pittsburgh Panthers and Louisville Cardinals over the next few years. While that will only enhance the conference during basketball season, there was fear that the ACC could lose some of its perennial power football teams, including the rumored loss of the Miami Hurricanes, Florida State Seminoles and Clemson Tigers. All three were reportedly considering joining the SEC, depending on what happened with conference realignment across the rest of the college landscape. But thanks to a ACC Grant of Rights media deal, the conference may not have only ensured stability for its future, but it may have finally put an end to conference realignment.
For the past few years, teams have been switching conferences almost as often as they have fallen under NCAA investigation for some wrongdoing or another. Almost. We have seen longstanding rivalries come to an untimely end with the bolting of teams from one conference to another. The Texas A&M Aggies left the Big 12 for the SEC, along with the Missouri Tigers. The Nebraska Cornhuskers left the same conference to join the Big 10. It has just been one tiring trend that has forever altered the landscape of college sports. And, while some may argue that it has helped college football, it has negatively affected the rest of the NCAA sports world.
The ACC is trying to make sure that it is coming to an end.
The ACC announced that its presidents have signed a Grant of Rights deal through the 2026-2027 season, meaning that the conference now owns its 15 current and future members’ television rights for the duration of that period. Sure, the schools could still leave if they wish, but they would not forfeit their own media rights, but they would also guarantee that the school’s new conference could not receive any of their television revenue. Whereas college sports are just as much about money as professional sports, no conference is going to attempt to lure a school without being able to profit. It just isn’t going to happen.
Thank you, ACC. You may have angered a few people who were hoping to see their teams switch conferences for one reason or another, but you effectively ended the worst trend in college sports since the ‘One-and-Done’ rule in college basketball.
It may take some time before the ACC is officially back in terms of college football. Miami is still a bit down and going through more turmoil from the days under Randy Shannon while the NCAA screws up nearly every aspect of its investigation. Florida State is almost back, while Clemson is still strong. The North Carolina Tar Heels and Virginia Tech Hokies are transitioning while the Boston College Eagles and Duke Blue Devils are primed to make some noise. The addition of Louisville will help the football play in the conference, as will adding the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on a part term basis. But, had Miami, Florida State and Clemson left, the future success would have been short lived. Now, it should only be stabilized.
Again, thank you, ACC.