Stanford Cal SMU to join ACC in 2024 25 How the

Stanford, Cal, SMU to join ACC in 2024-25: How the vote went down – The Athletic

After nearly a month of discussions about expansion, the Atlantic Coast Conference has finally made a decision. The ACC will add Stanford, Cal and SMU as new members in the 2024-25 school year, the conference announced Friday.

Finances were key to the final approval: Multiple league sources told The Athletic that SMU was willing to accept no revenue from ACC media rights for nine years, and Stanford and Cal were willing to join as partial members, initially making one clear to receive a reduced share of sales. The bill worked so well that current ACC members voted to include it at a meeting Friday morning.

The ACC’s footprint, as the name suggests, will now extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It joins the Big Ten as the only power conference to include members on both the West and East Coasts. The three schools are the first additions to the ACC since Louisville joined in 2014.

The ACC invites are important lifelines for Cal and Stanford, whose options were extremely limited after six Pac-12 schools left the league this summer. The two schools had hopes of making it to the ACC, although the process had been slow in recent weeks. The league needed 12 of 15 members to support the expansion, and a straw poll conducted in mid-August found 11 in favor and four dissenters.

In the weeks since that election, ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips has unveiled various financial models aimed at securing the necessary votes. He also spent a lot of time talking to dissenters, listening to their concerns and trying to address them.

However, the subsequent discussions did not lead to unanimity. On Thursday, the chair and vice chair of the UNC Board of Trustees released a statement ahead of the final vote expressing their opposition to the expansion with a “strong majority” of the board: “While we respect the academic excellence and athletic programs of these institutions, the travel distances for routine in-conference competition are too great for this agreement to make sense for our student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans. Furthermore, the economics of this reimagined transcontinental conference do not adequately account for the income inequality facing ACC members.”

Other administrators in the ACC believed the statement was sent to put pressure on UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to ensure he would not distort his vote. UNC and NC State were not required to vote together, but the political climate in which the schools operate makes it difficult to make decisions on which they disagree. That’s why NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson has generated a lot of interest around the league in recent days and weeks.

League sources confirmed NC status reversed and voted yes on Friday morning. UNC voted against the move.

UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a statement Friday that he “respects the outcome” and that his vote against expansion “was based on the feedback I received in recent weeks from our athletic leadership, our coaches, our faculty athletic advisors and.” “Our student-athletes and a variety of other stakeholders who care deeply about our university and the success of our outstanding athletic program.”

The financial agreements between the ACC and the three new members paved the way to allow for expansion and address the additional travel costs associated with the addition of schools in California and Texas. The expansion would have worked for the ACC only by ensuring that revenue distributed to current ACC members would not decline. But the financial boost goes beyond just covering travel costs.

Under the ACC’s long-term contract with ESPN, the network must pay a full prorated share for any new members. According to the ACC’s 2021-22 tax return, the league generated $443 million in television revenue, which equates to $29.5 million per school, a figure that is expected to increase slightly each year. With SMU prepared to accept no media rights revenue from the ACC for nine years, and Stanford and Cal expected to take stakes starting at about 30 percent, the additions would add a pool of more than $50 million in new assets Create money that could be distributed among current members starting in 2024-25. Cal and Stanford’s stocks would increase annually over 12 years until they reach full membership.

“There’s something for everyone here, and that’s difficult. But in the end it brings more revenue to our schools,” Phillips said Friday. “It is difficult to always achieve unanimity. When we left this call today, everyone was in very good spirits.”

This new pool of money from SMU’s share and Stanford and Cal’s partial share is expected to be used to reward schools for their performance on the field in a new revenue distribution system, helping those schools that invest heavily in football ( like Florida State and Clemson). ) to work toward closing the financial gap with their counterparts in the SEC and Big Ten. The ACC is expected to reward schools for participation in college football playoffs, conference championships and other benchmarks. The incentives are expected to total $10 million for a school to achieve them all in one year.

Most of the incentives are tied to football, but not all.

Cal, Stanford and SMU would have to sign the ACC’s rights grant, which runs through 2036. Although they would receive either no or partial media rights revenue, the three members would still receive other league revenue associated with the CFP and the NCAA Tournament.

The ACC had several high-profile meetings this month to discuss the expansion and the financial details that could make it possible, but the move is still pretty impressive. A conference that began in North Carolina now includes the Bay Area and Dallas. The ACC will soon have 17 full members, plus Notre Dame, which plays football as an independent club.

Multiple league sources believe that one of the main goals of the expansion was to ensure the ACC’s numerical strength going forward. Even if Florida State or others try to leave the ACC (and pay whatever it takes to get out of the league’s grant of rights that binds schools to the conference until 2036), there would already be schools that have those spots would essentially reoccupy — and this was an opportunity to add two of the country’s most prestigious academic institutions that have elite Olympic sports programs.

Stanford expects 22 of its 36 sports “to experience either no schedule changes or minimal impact to the schedule” as a result of the move, the school said Friday. Stanford added that much of the planning will continue to take place on weekends — and the school will work with the ACC to “optimize” solutions to “mitigate the impact of travel.”

Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir said the school will start with a 30 percent revenue share for the first seven years, then increase to 70 percent in the eighth year, 75 percent in the ninth year and 100 percent in the 10th year.

“We thought this would be a great opportunity, even though the trip might not make sense to some,” Muir said. “Our student-athlete leadership told us, ‘We want to continue to compete at a high level.’ We believe we can balance the travel with the academic rigor.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner called the move “a historic milestone in the history of our institution” in a statement Friday.

“From the beginning of my tenure here at the Hilltop, we had a vision to re-establish SMU Athletics as a nationally recognized and relevant program that would complement our outstanding academic reputation,” Turner said. “It’s truly an exciting time at the Hilltop.”

The ACC additions represent one of the power conference’s final waves from the chaos of Aug. 4, when Oregon and Washington left the Pac-12 for the Big Ten and Arizona, Arizona State and Utah moved to the Big 12, all after Colorado had made the jump to the Big 12 days earlier. The remaining four Pac-12 schools had to think about their futures. From the beginning, Stanford and Cal had hoped that they could end up in the ACC – even just a partial share – rather than having to drop from a Power 5 league to a Group of 5 league. Influential alumni like Stanford’s Condoleezza Rice called this month to get the ACC leadership over the finish line.

Washington State and Oregon State are the last two schools remaining in the Pac-12, and any hope of replenishing and rebuilding the conference appears to have been extinguished. Those two schools have drawn interest from both the Mountain West and the American Athletic Conference and are expected to settle on their new homes relatively soon – but the AAC said Friday that it is no longer “invested” in expanding westward will look.”

“We went from regional conferences to national, coast-to-coast conferences,” Phillips said. “College sports is going through the next phase of change, and it is truly drastic.”

“Either you’re busy or you’re left behind.”

(Photo: Bob Kupbens / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)