UNC Board Announces Opposition to Proposed ACC Expansion with Stanford, Cal and SMU

UNC Board Announces Opposition to Proposed ACC Expansion with Stanford, Cal and SMU
Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 1, 2023

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 05: North Carolina Tar Heels helmet resting on the field during pregame drills prior to a college football game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Virginia Cavaliers on November 05, 2022, at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, VA. (Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Count North Carolina as one of the schools that will vote against the additions of Stanford, California and SMU to the ACC.

The university’s board of trustees released the following statement on Thursday:

Travon Miles @TrayABC11

Full statement from the #UNC Board of Trustees opposing ACC expansion.

This is getting interesting… pic.twitter.com/8SerfFsBew

That comes in the wake of The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel and Nicole Auerbach reporting earlier on Thursday that the ACC presidents would meet Friday to “discuss and potentially vote” the possible additions of Stanford, Cal and SMU.

Conference realignment has been the theme of the offseason in college sports, with Washington and Oregon joining USC and UCLA in the Big Ten and Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado heading to the Big 12.

The result has been the pending death of the Pac-12, and more changes could be coming, with the ACC’s future now firmly in the spotlight. Namely, will the conference also expand, or could it eventually lose its most prominent schools?

Rumors have suggested that Florida State is seeking either a new conference or a larger portion of the revenue pie to stick around the ACC, while the SEC lurks as a potentially appealing destination for both the Seminoles and schools like Clemson or North Carolina if the ACC lags behind its competitors in the revenue department.

Expansion has been offered up as a potential salve to that concern.

As Mandel and Auerbach reported, ESPN “must pay a full pro-rata share for any new members” but “multiple conference sources said SMU is willing to accept no ACC media rights revenue for at least seven years, and Stanford and Cal would begin at around 30 percent, freeing up a pool of more than $70 million of new money to be distributed among the current members starting in 2024-25.”

That, in turn, could be “used to reward schools for on-field performance in a new revenue-distribution system, helping the schools that invest heavily in football (such as Florida State and Clemson) to work toward closing the financial gap with their peers in the SEC and Big Ten.”

North Carolina, however, doesn’t seem swayed by the possible benefits being offered. It remains to be seen if the other ACC schools will be more enticed.

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