AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker, File
The college sports conference carousel may be continuing with news that there is “momentum toward” the Atlantic Coast Conference adding Cal and Stanford to the mix, per Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated.
According to Brett McMurphy of Action Network, Notre Dame is “pushing” for the move. The Fighting Irish are independent in football but part of the ACC in all other sports.
Cal and Stanford have been left behind in the Pac-12 with news of Washington and Oregon joining the Big Ten and Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado leaving for the Big 12 beginning in 2024.
The Bay Area rivals are two of four remaining Pac-12 teams after this college sports season alongside Oregon State and Washington State.
The ongoing dissolution of the Pac-12 has led to this moment, but so has word that the ACC could be losing some teams. Florida State president Richard McCullough told the school’s board of trustees that the Seminoles could be making their way out of the league, saying in part (h/t ESPN’s Andrea Adelson).
“Our goal would be to continue to stay in the ACC, but staying in the ACC under the current situation is hard for us to figure out how we remain competitive unless there were a major change in the revenue distribution within the conference,” McCullough said. “That has not happened. Those discussions are ongoing at all times.
FSU has been the most forthright about a potential exodus, but others may be involved as well. Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reported the following in May.
“More frank discussions are expected about the growing revenue gap between it and the SEC/Big Ten. Handcuffed by an ESPN broadcasting contract and grant-of-rights that extends another 13 years, ACC schools could find themselves more than $30 million behind the SEC and Big Ten in annual distribution by the time 2026 arrives. …
“A subset of seven schools in the 14-member conference has coalesced over what many of them describe as an untenable situation. Officials from the seven schools, led by Florida State and Clemson, have met a handful of times over the past several months, with their lawyers examining the grant-of-rights to determine just how unbreakable it is.”
That list of seven schools includes Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, NC State, Miami, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.
We’ll see what happens soon with the ACC, although the end game may be that Cal and Stanford will now play in a conference where the member schools are roughly 2,500-3,000 miles away. That’s a big loss for the student-athletes, who now have to travel cross country frequently just to play games.