Sources – ‘Continued momentum’ for ACC to add schools


A decision on ACC expansion is expected this week, and sources told ESPN that there’s “continued momentum” toward the league adding Stanford, Cal and SMU to the league.

After a weekend of conversations, a source told ESPN that the details of the potential additions are “only in pencil,” but it’s trending in the direction of happening. One of four ACC schools that had previously objected to the additions — Clemson, Florida State, NC State and North Carolina — needed to change its vote, and that is expected to happen this week.

A source described the situation to ESPN as a distinct dichotomy as of Monday afternoon. There’s an anticipation to the additions happening, but the same people preparing for expansion aren’t certain that it’s going to happen, according to the source, nor are they certain what school will flip. They are working to prepare coaches and athletes for potential additions, but aren’t certain that the schools will be added.

“It could be done, but there’s work to be done,” a source told ESPN.

While there’s momentum toward additions, a decision either way is coming in the early part of this week. This is the fourth week that ACC officials have discussed the potential additions, and there’s a now-or-never tone hanging over the next few days.

A presidents’ call scheduled for Monday night has been canceled because of a shooting at North Carolina’s campus, sources told ESPN.

The movement of the meeting is out of respect for everyone at UNC, sources told ESPN. The meeting has yet to be definitively re-scheduled.

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips discussed the potential adds with the ACC presidents in small groups last week. Phillips also spent the bulk of the week having smaller conversations with the four “no” schools in an effort to get them on board with the expansion plan, multiple sources told ESPN’s Andrea Adelson. One source indicated Phillips would like to have a unanimous vote on expansion because he sees this as a big win for the conference, particularly as a way to secure its future. After weeks of strife, a unanimous vote would indicate he has every league member on board with the decision.

The ACC officials are still dialing in on how to divide the pool of money that would be split up among ACC members after the three schools join.

SMU is expected to join the league with no broadcast media revenue for seven years, per ESPN sources. Cal and Stanford are expected to initially join at approximately 30% shares.

That’s expected to create a pool of between $50-60 million annually to divide among ACC schools. Some of that would be distributed to all members, and the rest would be put into a pool for success initiatives. Discussion on that pool of money centers on how to divide it to everyone’s satisfaction — taking into account CFP appearances, ACC championships, ACC championship appearances and bowl appearances. One source believes there should be a tiered approach to how the bowl money is divided up; an Orange Bowl appearance should be worth more than a Pinstripe Bowl appearance, for example. There also is ongoing discussion about how much Notre Dame should share in the added money the league will receive from the new schools.

The ACC has been discussing success initiatives since May that are expected to be implemented for the 2024-25 season. When the ACC announced those initiatives, it noted the specifics were “still in progress.”

Another source indicated that adding these three schools is essential not only for long-term security but also to help close the revenue gap with the SEC and Big Ten, which is set to grow to roughly $30 million per year. The source said this current plan is “the only thing that gets us closer to closing that gap” compared with other options that have been presented.

All three schools would be expected to enter for the 2024-25 season in all sports. The potential move comes after the Pac-12 spiraled in the wake of departures of eight schools in recent weeks.

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson contributed to this report.


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