Yesterday got totally disrupted with the Notre Dame-ACC news. I just have one (or two) final thoughts for now on the deal. Then, I swear I’ll get back to the stuff regarding the VT game. Really. I mean it.
I’m surprised it took place this quickly. For the ACC there was no real urgency to do this. It seems that the ACC could have waited a year or two to let ND twist in the new Big East. It wouldn’t have resulted in full membership, but they probably could have had ND playing 6 games against the ACC rather than 5.
The exception to that thought would be if getting the ND deal done was the only way to make sure the ACC could pass the new exit fee structure. That was really the bigger deal and puts the ACC on the Big 12 level stability with such painful exit fees that it becomes almost impossible to leave.
Contrary to original reports, the new exit fee — which is three times the annual television revenue for a school — was not unanimously approved.
“President Barron voted against it. I personally think that $50 million is punitive. I’m not sure that holds up,” said Bense, who was named the chairman of the Board of Trustees for a two-year term in June. Bense also said that Maryland voted against the increased buyout. “I’m not implying that there’s going to be any changes, but $50 million is a lot of money.”
The Charlotte Observer’s Andrew Carter reported Wednesday that nine of the 12 ACC schools had to vote for the increase for it to be approved.
Bense, the former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, (2004-06), was clear that he approved of the move to add Notre Dame to the league, saying “it’s good for the ACC and Florida State.” Bense also emphasized that Florida State has no plans to explore any other conferences. However, the staggering figure could hamstring the school if it had any plans to make changes down the road.
“Don’t construe his vote against it to mean anything about anything, it’s just that in my business that when you get in something you better figure out a way to get out of something,” Bense said. “We have no desire to get out, but $50 million makes it pretty tough to do anything.”
Punitive? You mean like the Big 12’s “Grant of Rights” clause that locks in the TV revenue to the conference regardless of whether they leave for another conference? You never say never if there was a lawsuit, but it’s clear that there are some other highly “punitive” exit restrictions the ACC could cite.
That full exit fee, by the way, also applies to Notre Dame. The only way they are bolting is if the ACC at some point tells them it is all-in or you are out.
Pitt and Syracuse had no say in this as they are not yet in the ACC. Hence 9 of 12. Regardless, safe to say Pitt and Cuse would have gone along with the deal.
Maryland voting against it — if true — would lend some credence to the rumors that they at least wanted to keep their options open with regards to the Big 10. The fact that it went through means that Clemson and/or Virginia Tech also supported the exit fee hike. Something that probably pisses off a chunk of the fanbases who agitate to be elsewhere.
At the presser John Swofford stated that there was no interest in a 16th team — like say a basketball only school — to bring balance to the basketball side. This makes sense if the long-term goal is to reel in Notre Dame as a full member. At that point, you could consider another program that also plays football. 15 teams is only a minor scheduling headache.
The presser also revealed just how much football drives the TV revenue. Even in the ACC.
Notre Dame won’t get any of the ACC’s football television money, for obvious reasons. Swofford said that makes up 80 percent of the ACC’s deal, monetarily. So the Fighting Irish would then get a 1/15 share of the other 20 percent from the contract.
Which, if reports of the bump in annual TV revenue is accurate is somewhere near $4 million a year.
Another item to note. The move to 15 teams in basketball means that the ACC is looking to create a second “protected rivalry.” That is the annual home-and-home. ND might be the obvious choice with Pitt as the second team, because Pitt is now their closest team geographically. I guess, but I’d rather it be against Syracuse.
What this ND move does mean is that at the top-five conferences, expansiopocolypse may finally be at a significant pause. I don’t want to say end, because it never ends. But for the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC; there don’t look to be any moves to make at the moment. As Frank the Tank wrote, there is no real financial incentive/benefit for the Big 12 to go back to 12 with what is available. Louisville and BYU together might do it. But BYU wants to stick with its independence, and Louisville isn’t worth it alone to expand to 11.