ACC tries to halt conference realignment in approving grant of media rights

Florida State Seminoles linebacker Nigel Terrell (28) and teammates celebrates their 31-10 win over the Northern Illinois Huskies during the 2013 Orange Bowl game at Sun Life Stadium. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

Florida State Seminoles linebacker Nigel Terrell (28) and teammates celebrates their 31-10 win over the Northern Illinois Huskies during the 2013 Orange Bowl game at Sun Life Stadium. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

The ACC has been able to bring in elite athletic programs such as Syracuse, Pitt and Louisville in recent years in order to add to its national prestige. However, it has also lost Maryland to the Big Ten and has been living in fear over the last few years that crown jewels Florida State, Clemson, Duke or North Carolina would be the next out the door.

Thus, according to ESPN’s Bret McMurphy, the conference’s presidents have approved a grant of media rights for the league through 2026-27.

“This announcement further highlights the continued solidarity and commitment by our member institutions,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “The Council of Presidents has shown tremendous leadership in insuring the ACC is extremely well positioned with unlimited potential.”

Basically, if a team were to leave the conference at any time between now and 14 years, all profits from a team’s home games would go back to the ACC.

“It was pretty cut and dry to unify this league,” another ACC source said. “The ACC has been a really good league and now it can become really special.”

The Big Ten has been rumored to be enamored at the thought of bringing North Carolina on board. However, if the Tar Heels were to leave now, whatever money their home football/basketball/other games generated would be going back to the ACC unti 2026-27, not the Big Ten.

Obviously, this makes the poaching of an ACC school far less desirable in the eyes of the Big Ten, Big 12 and the SEC.

“That ends expansion right there,” a source told McMurphy.

This is a huge step for the conference and the nation as a whole. Make no mistake, conference realignment and expansion is not over. At first, the ACC raised its exit fee from $20 million to a whopping $50 million. However, Maryland has challenged this in court. If the Terps win, they are gone to the Big Ten and really, even if Maryland loses, it will still fork over the $50 million with the help of the Big Ten Network’s advertising dollars.

Thus, the conference took yet another step in ensuring that when all the dominoes have fallen, the ACC will still be standing.

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