FSU football is watching some important dominos falling in the latest edition of conference realignment. The Big 10 taking USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 has ushered in the next wave of schools looking to survive and find the most lucrative landing spot.
As always, the ACC Conference is reactive instead of proactive, depending on their Grant of Rights to hold the conference together. However, I don’t think ACC schools with value can afford to be afraid to test the waters since all signs point toward the conference being fairly worthless in the next few years compared to the SEC and Big 10.
There’s already a significant revenue gap that will only continue to grow. The inability to compete at the highest level for elite players and coaches will cause schools like FSU and Clemson to fall into obscurity in all sports. If that’s the case, these schools need to find a way to skirt past the ACC’s Grant of Rights.
I believe one way of doing that is banding together to leave the conference. It has to be the schools with the most perceived value like FSU football, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech. If all these schools announce they want to leave the ACC, wouldn’t that significantly lessen the value of an already 2nd-tier conference? All it takes is a couple to make the first move pubically, and others would have to follow.
The ACC’s TV deal is with ESPN, so the schools need to find a landing spot that would add more value than staying in the ACC for some TV entity.
Once that happens, negotiations can happen, and the schools can skirt the ACC Grant of Rights or at least avoid paying the full sum to leave the conference. At the end of the day, staying in the ACC is a death knell, so suffer a little now and live later or die a slow painful death.
Administrations from these schools see the writing on the wall and have to become proactive. Otherwise, the ability to compete with other programs is over.