ACC Revisits Expansion Talks: Stanford, California, SMU Considered at Reduced Cost

ACC in Talks to Welcome California, Stanford, and SMU, Reports Suggest

Recent reports indicate that the ACC is revisiting the possibility of bringing in California, Stanford, and SMU. Sources have conveyed to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander a growing confidence in Cal and Stanford striking a deal with the ACC.

Financial models were the focal point of a Wednesday meeting of ACC presidents, aiming to determine a feasible structure. The expected financial terms suggest reduced payouts for Cal and Stanford, while SMU might forgo media payments for a span of seven years, as per information from ESPN.

ESPN further suggests that introducing these three institutions could lead to enhanced compensation from TV partners. Given the prospective members’ willingness to accept reduced payouts, current ACC members might see an increase in their shares. The ACC, for the year 2022, already distributed close to $40 million for each school. The continued partnership with ESPN should ensure this figure rises due to stipulated annual increases in the contract.

Several ACC institutions have been advocating for increased revenue channels, especially after the Big Ten and SEC penned lucrative new TV deals. Earlier, the ACC had shown support for a scheme that would reward top-performing programs with added revenue, based on their achievements in the postseason. This scheme, which is still under deliberation, is projected to commence in 2024-25, coinciding with the expansion of the College Football Playoff.

For a new school to be admitted, 12 out of the 15 ACC schools (including Notre Dame) must cast a favorable vote. In previous voting, four institutions – North Carolina, NC State, Clemson, and Florida State – had reservations. To admit the three new candidates, only one out of these needs to shift their stance. A verdict is anticipated within the coming week, as per ESPN.

These discussions follow the Pac-12’s recent shifts, notably with USC and UCLA’s departure to the Big Ten. Other schools like Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah have also made similar moves. If the ACC indeed secures Stanford and Cal, the Pac-12 would only have Oregon State and Washington State left.

While both remaining schools have been approached by the Mountain West and the American Athletic Conference, their next steps are yet to be decided.