The Commissioner announced they plan to meet in the post season to strategize on ways to improve the profile of the conference in terms of rankings and post season selection. Lot of words around it but my push on this is "Hey Commish, the teams have to have top talent to win....which takes $$$. Fix the TV deal or its going to continue to decline. Every aspect of these programs are driven by budget and the ACC deal hurts them every day."
He is talking about trying to contest NET rankings and laboring to convince the committees how much more important the 19th and 20th conference game are compared to 18 game schedules. If that really is hurting the league then go back to 18.
I get he has to seem like he is striving to do what's best for the ACC. It's his job. But ignoring the gigantic elephant in the room isn't getting that job done either.
It's a zero sum game. If the SEC gets more teams in, some other conference is going to lose spots.
Yes, the $$$ make a difference.
There are things you can control, and things you can't.
To elaborate - Phillips got Comcast to carry ACCN. That was huge. Not sure how you can get ESPN to renegotiate a contract that is great for them. The acc has no leverage. What are you going to do, ask the amateur athletes to strike?
Not sure how you can get ESPN to renegotiate a contract that is great for them
You convince them that if the league folds some of the teams will end up in a league they don't control (BIG10).
I have a friend who believes the same thing, but I don't see it. The league won't fold for
2012 years - No rush for espn. Also, I don't think any of the valuable brands in the Acc go to the B10. Maybe ND and Miami, that's it. Not a huge loss all things considered.
Finally, even if this were an immediate concern, I'm not sure how you magically convince ESPN that this is the case.
I would add UNC to that list as well. Much as I hate to admit it, they are considered a big brand.
Not sure on the 20 years either. Was this years ACC basketball just a blip on the radar or the beginning of the end? The more schools in the NCAAs the more money for the conference. Now we have a top ranked Alabama in football and basketball. That is more money to the SEC and less to the ACC.
Agree on unc. The 20 years should be 12. The years left of the GoR.
To my point - ESPN wants the ACC to thrive for the next 12 years. After that, it doesn't matter. Why invest more money when the deal is so good for them?
The ACC has no leverage.
The 12 is to the end of the GOR. I would expect 2-3 years ahead of that some team will decide the payout is worth it to make the jump.
Clemson and FSU come to mind. Once the first team leaves, it could escalate quickly.
So, you're suggesting that an ACC school should threaten to leave the ACC, and that would convince ESPN to reopen negotiations 12 years prematurely, when we're only 40%(?) through the length of the contract?
First of all, ending the GoR will be *very* messy for all parties, and super expensive for the party leaving. Even if the $120mil-ish buyout is cut down to $30m (unlikely), there's still the whole 'grant of rights' thing where each ACC school agreed to give all their rights to ESPN. You think ESPN is letting that go? You think the SEC is going to be cool with taking less money per school to add more schools?
Alllll that aside, suppose you end the GoR and avoid all financial costs (not possible in reality), how many teams are going to be in a better spot? The ACC is currently paying out (barely) more than B12 and likely more than what the P10+ will make. How many teams bring enough value to improve the SEC or B10? How many teams improve the value of the B12?
Back to my initial comment... what is Jim Phillips supposed to do that he's not already doing?
Technically the Grant of Rights is the school's with the ACC. The schools did not give GoR to ESPN. It gives the ACC the right to negotiate contractual obligations with ESPN. If, and obviously a big IF, the ACC elected to dissolve the GoR there is nothing ESPN could effectively do other than sue the conference. I don't know what vote or process the ACC would have to go through to dissolve the GoR but just starting that discussion might be enough to bring ESPN to the table.
But if the ACC didn't dissolve, and just one team tried to leave, ESPN, would still own that team's broadcast rights, no?
At that point it would all go to the lawyers to solve. I don't know if the language ties each school specifically to the ESPN contract or if it's the conference that is tied to the contract.
Exactly - the exit fee is to leave the conference. Negotiating/Valuing the future broadcast rights for a team is messy. It's what makes the GoR so iron clad
Assuming the ACC continues a general decline over the next few years (due to the revenue gap) does ESPN really want to be holding the tab for a league that no one cares about 12 years in the future.
They are paying roughly $30 million/year per school. For now that is a great deal, but 12 years from now they maybe kicking themselves that they are still giving BC $30 million.
Renegotiate now with the thought it will make the product worth watching 12 years from now.
Now do I think this will happen, no. It is too forward thinking for them. In 12 years (maybe less) they will be wondering why they are giving ACC schools so much.
There's problems with this:
There is nothing making the ACC go back to ESPN when the GoR is over. So ESPN could put in this hypothetical investment just to see the ACC go to Fox in 12 years.
True, but without the investment, odds are Fox won't want the product anyway.
Basically, the ACC is dead. They just won't admit it yet.
Miami is in the final four, and VT, Louisville, and Miami women are in the elite eight.
I see what you're saying, and you're right to be concerned, but...
Fox has no interest in entering a bidding war over the ACC. They've shown little-to-no interest in the P12. If the price was right would they go for the ACC? Sure. Are they interested in paying what ESPN is currently paying for the ACC? No.
So how do you fix that?
You get Notre Dame in football. You win your football games, even with a smaller budget.
Yes, easier said than done.
It's a challenge for sure. The two options you listed are good ones. Here's everything I can think of:
The ACC...sponsored by.....Clorox
If Clorox wants to the ACC $30m/year/school I am in. We can call it the Clorox Coastal Conference. We can have players bleach the grass stains out of their jerseys during half time. Sounds great to me.
Hey commish....win more!
His argument is they can't win more because they play each other more.....
If the additional conference games hurt you then maybe that's what you should fix. Hokies could definitely do without two games with BC or Clemson.
Maybe ACC teams should stop losing to easy bye games before the conference, because that's what ranked UNC and Clemson this year, not their ACC records
UNC was more about its conference record being 11-9 than their OOC being 9-3. Were their ugly OOC losses? Not really. UNC lost to Alabama in OT( a #1 Seed), ranked Indiana, and Iowa State (19-14 record). They beat Michigan and Ohio State. They destroyed College of Charleston, who finished 31-4. No, it was the losses to the Hokies, Pitt, Wake and no really signature wins in conference that saw them not selected. They beat the teams below them for the most part but lost all their ranked opponent games in conference.
Clemson only had two OOC slips with South Carolina and Loyola. They finished OOC play 8-3 with their only other loss to a ranked Iowa. Again, their downfall was February in the ACC. They finished February 3-4 with a disastrous loss to Louisville included. Clemson finished tied for 2nd in the ACC Regular Season but failed to make the Tourney.
The real damage though to all these teams was the lowered Strength of Schedule across the conference and four cellar dwellers that underperformed, led by Louisville and Florida State.
Between this and his NIL speech at football kickoff, as a casual observer, I feel like Philips is consistently in complaining and lamenting mode. The ACC need an offensive game plan and not to be constantly saying "whoa is me".
In Philips defense, he got hired as the cruise director on a sinking ship. He can do nothing about the GOR or the TV deal. They were executed before him and will probably last past him.
He's just auditioning for the Big Ten job and gonna use his new contacts to add UNC and Virginia
Follow the money.
There's a reason Alabama which has traditionally been a roadbump in College Basketball is all of a sudden relevant.
That's the overarching problem for the ACC, financial disadvantage to the B1G and $EC.
Regarding tournament bids, there probably is a solid point to be made about 2022, particularly looking at the Mtn.West last year who got 4 in the tourney, all of whom were waxed in the first weekend.
The ACC in 2023 was not a strong conference. Clemson has a legit gripe, but otherwise the conference was generally mediocre and/or underwhelming. I don't see any reason to pound your chest over Miami making the Elite 8 when the other 4 bids didn't exactly light the world on fire.
Miami is there, the big ten and SEC are not. Big 12 has 2, BE 2 and that's it for major conferences. So the ACC is better than most this year.
Sure, but the ACC got 2 teams into the Round of 32. B1G - 5 and SEC - 6.
Sweet Sixteen: ACC-1. SEC-2 B1G-2.
So, yes, Miami has outlasted any of their teams but I think it's a pretty difficult argument to make that the ACC has been as successful as either from an overall standpoint.
They also had less chances to get more teams through by only getting 5 in; with 8 bids each sec and big got 25% of its teams to sweet 16 and acc got 40%
Is it just me or does it seem like the acc commissioner has no vision and no backbone? He complains about an awful lot but idk what he's done to actually move the league forward.
I am sure he will invite ECU to join and blow all sorts of smoke up our skirts about what a great addition they are.
They do have more ACC wins than some ACC teams.
Ole Swindlin' Swofford set up his son and locked the ACC up for 20+ years. Just about the only thing Phillips can do is yell at the clouds.
Exactly. Swofford killed the long term viability of the conference. The league should seriously consider disbanding and starting over without Wake, Duke, BC, Cuse. Keep all time big football schools plus UNC and try again
I hate Swofford as much as the next VT fan, but it's not like he was acting on his own volition; he had the complete support of 14 ACC school presidents. They deserve equal blame.
Fair enough. I just wish we had a strong commish who could've saved them from themselves. Instead he escorted them to death row, lining his pockets in the process.
I completely blame unc and tobacco road cronyism. Because I'm petty and that's my favorite narrative
There was too much emphasis put on maintaining basketball as the front sport of the conference. In my mind, the majority of the conference was living in the past while getting passed.
Should be able to do both.
I mean, that's what the SEC and the Big 10 are doing.
Can you elaborate on how a conference can focus on football over basketball? I get how a school can do it (because each athletic dept decides how funds are distributed), but I don't get how a conference can do this. What does that actually look like? I hear this discussion point all the time, but I genuinely don't understand it.
Well for one, adding BC, Pitt, Cuse, Louisville as four most recent members and admitting ND in every sport but football certainly didnt really lean into prioritizing football as the premier sport of the conference
Were there "football brand" alternatives to Pitt, Syracuse, and Louisville when the ACC took them post Big East collapse? Not including BC because they joined in 05 (not that they probably made any more sense then).
I understand these schools are largely underwhelming and at the time theoretically would have been stronger contributors in basketball than football. But if the ACC doesn't take them in at that time then they probably remain the same size they were and don't add anybody new. Which maybe would've been better
TCU and WVU "left" the Big East for the Big 12 around the same time we took Cuse and Pitt. Louisville was a year later. Around that time, Mizzou and Texas A&M left what appeared to be a sinking Big 12 for the SEC.
Could we have poached one of those other teams instead of Louisville? Two of them instead of Louisville and Syracuse?
Would've taken WVU all day over Cuse.
absolutely. WVU + Pitt keeps would keep some very cfb intense rivalries in conference.
ACC would've gotten Backyard Brawl and Black Diamond, plus WVU and Louisville were starting to have a pretty intense football rivalry around the end of the old Big East days.
yeah good call. WVU over Cuse would be a win every day of the week. Louisville has been an above average ACC football brand but WVU would probably still be better for the conference to keep some rivalries alive
I totally disagree that adding these schools was a basketball move to the detriment of football (Ignoring BC - 2005 was a different time).
Could we have tried to nab TCU or Boise or some other B12 team? Probably, but it would've been viewed as an act of desperation at the time. Beyond that, not even the presidents of the 'football schools' at the time (VT, FSU, Clemson) would've supported that move.
You're phrasing reads as if ND wanted to be a part of the football conference, but the ACC didn't allow it (which laughable).
One could argue that the ND semi-football invite was a bad idea (I would argue the opposite), but at worst, it's a small loss for the ACC. I have not found any numbers detailing the revenue ND has directly brought to the ACC (I've just seen what the ACC pays out to them), but I think the deal has likely been 'worth it' to the ACC due to:
At the end of the day, IMO, the ACC is in the position we are in because
I'm more than willing to hear examples of the Tobacco Road Mafia forcing the conference to focus on Basketball to the detriment of football, but I am yet to see any examples.
The Tobacco Road Mafia's strongest brands are their basketball brands. Prioritizing UNC/Duke is always going to disproportionately push basketball.
I didnt mean to sound like ND wanted in for football too. But only sort of half getting them for football isn't really prioritizing football. I believe it's a net-positive for the ACC, but ND benefits way more from it than the ACC does ("look at all the P5 games we played!").
If TCU was willing to join the Big East (and then bail before actually joining), they likely would have accepted an invite to the ACC. While conferences were after media markets, schools were after some stability. MWC and Big East were the first to get poached, but Nebraska bailing on the Big12 was a shot across the bow that anything should have been on the table for the ACC to try and grow the pie instead of playing defense and being reactionary.
I agree with your last paragraph, but I don't think any of the ACC president would've been into that - not even VT/FSU/Clemson. I don't think this was the Carolina's holding back the league; rather, I think it was a lack of vision throughout the league.
Sure. Then you read Swofford stonewalling reports that linked Texas to the ACC around that same time. Did he even try?????
Not quoted here on that specifically, but it's hard to read this story and not see the syracuse addition as a primarily basketball focused move due to the NY market and potential for conference basketball tournaments in NYC.
My recollection was that Texas to the ACC was never serious. The article (quote below) mentions TTU and UT as a package deal.
I don't see ACC presidents adding a school that lives outside the top 200 US News (especially in 2011ish).
I agree Syracuse was primarily (a) a target for the NY market and (b) a storied basketball program. I just don't think there was another realistic football-friendly option on the board, especially, considering (a) the attitude of ACC university leadership (not just tobacco road) and (b) broadcasting business strategy in 2011.
Want my hottest of hot takes? Rutgers would have been a better addition to the ACC than Syracuse. Would have added the same TV market, Rutgers is probably about the same in the ACC football-wise as Syracuse, consolidates the ACC footprint not to include upstate NY, puts ACC coaches into talent-rich NJ prep school recruiting-wise, and most of all, I'd have regular VT games close enough to my backyard. (lol only half /s)
Regarding the "Tobacco Road influence". It's basically unconscious bias, disparate impact, and everything else that's in the zeitgeist for wildly unrelated reasons that skirt the CGs but applied to ACC athletics and basketball vs football. If "the best decision for the conference" just so happen to always correlate with "the best decision for basketball", then there needs to be a reality check. Regardless of whether the moves were justifiable in hindsight
Also regarding poor US News rankings -- we literally added Louisville a year later
This is the first argument that has come close to changing my mind - leg for you.
From a revenue standpoint, I agree that Rutgers might have been marginally better (or worse) than Syracuse, BUT I fully agree with the football talent/recruiting argument. A more football forward conference (eg; the B10) would see this opportunity.
I get that there was/is a culture ingrained in ACC leadership to think about basketball first and football second. I suppose that move to add Syracuse - likely without even considering Rutgers (speculation on my part) - is evidence of this... The more I type, the more I agree with your argument.
That said, I still can't imagine any 'basketball-first' moves the (post-12-team) ACC made that were that detrimental to football (Not like the ACC would be in a significantly better situation if they added Rutgers instead of Syracuse). IMO there were two big mistakes that are still hurting the ACC 10+ years later:
Neither of these were basketball decisions. They were just leadership failures; lack of urgency and lack of vision.
20 year GoR is absolutely a leadership failure. But it also reeks of "how do we make sure UNC vs Duke is never ever ever ever ever ever jeopardized" lol
These guys are forgetting that VT is only in the ACC because of Virginia Senators and State Legislature. The ACCs expansion plan was not bold enough for football. They should have:
1. Added VT, Miami, WVU, Pitt and ...... Penn State. Probably would have then kept Maryland too. That's a damn good football conference. They could have got got around that time with some shrewd negotiations. The ACC thought adding Syracuse and Pitt would kill the Big East and they would become East Coast Basketball. Guess what, it didn't work.
The Big East surviving has hurt ACC Basketball. Adding schools that fit the academic profile and having basketball tradition is what killed the new ACC before it got off the ground.
Unless you were trying to expand in the late 80's, there's zero chance PSU goes to the ACC.
Yep, the ACC had the highest TV deal in 2004. Swofford took us from first to worst in the P5
He got the ACCN on Comcast, getting an extra $5m/school
If Philips is actually serious about the profile of the conference in basketball he needs to figure out what hell the ACCs social media team is doing. The main feeds for the conference have almost zero posts about the most recent rounds of both basketball tournaments. No sweet 16 graphics, no elite 8 graphics, no final 4 graphic for VT WBB, one retweet for Miami. No celebration videos whatsoever. Then compare that with every other conferences main page. I would scream Tobacco Road bias, but the 5 tweets on about UVAs swim and dive national titles has me thinking it's LOLUVA grad in charge.
When the NCAA social media tweets more about one of your schools than you do.....you know you have issues.
it wouldn't be the ACC if it wasn't low effort, directionless garbage
I really hate how far it's dropped since the early to mid 2000's. When it was undoubtedly the best league in sports