The ACC is expected to announce a Grant of Rights agreement among its 15 members as early to today, CBSSports.com has learned.
ACC presidents are in the process of clearing this with their departments. The agreement will go to 2026-27, the duration of the league’s contract with ESPN. The deal is not official just yet but, barring an unforseen snag, will be completed.
Unless a league member decides to go to litigation to escape this down the road, the ACC believes a Grant of Rights will protect it from conference realignment poachers.
The North Carolina-based David Glenn Show reported the news Monday afternoon.
And all news outlets are saying their sources are saying the same thing. And unlike the raised exit fee issue from last year — where FSU and Maryland voted against it — this one is unanimous in the ACC.
In case you don’t know, the Grant of Rights is a deal where the schools assign their media rights (read: TV revenue) to the conference. As long as a school stays in that conference, it means very little. The school still gets its revenue from the TV deal per normal. But… if the school left for another conference, the revenue from their media deal in the new conference would go to the conference where they assigned the rights.
So if, say UNC left for the Big Ten, the money they get from the B1G in their media contract would go to the ACC rather than to UNC for the duration of the Grant of Rights.
The Big 12 made this a centerpiece of their salvage plan. It was seen as a huge stabilizer, more than a huge buyout clause. The Pac-12 also has a Grant of Rights.
What does that mean for the expansiopocolypse scenario of the Big Ten picking off Virginia and North Carolina, while the SEC grabs NC State and Virginia Tech. Then the Big 12 picks off Florida State and Clemson? Leaving Pitt in an ACC that is a lot like the old Big East only with Wake Forest instead of WVU?
Well, it means that vision is dead. It means that a lot of WVU message boards and blogs — along with their inside sources — are now looking for new conspiracy theories.
Does this truly mean the end of expansiopocolypse? I wouldn’t go that far. There is always a chance a school decides to challenge the Grant of Rights (GoR) contract in court. The same way that Maryland is fighting that $50 million exit fee from the ACC. But, a legal challenge to the GoR would be more terrifying for the Big 12 than the ACC.
Effectively, this means the Big Ten isn’t expanding for at least a decade unless it can pick off someone from the SEC (no GoR or exit fee) and/or BYU, USF, UConn and/or Cinci. This seems highly improbable. The Big 12 may actually have to stay at 10 whether it really wants to or not. Same with the SEC.
Some forced stability. At least until the next round of conference TV deals starts.
UPDATE: And here’s the official press release:
April 22, 2013
Greensboro, N.C. - The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents announced today that each of the current and future 15-member institutions has signed a grant of media rights, effective immediately.
“This announcement further highlights the continued solidarity and commitment by our member institutions,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “The Council of Presidents has shown tremendous leadership in insuring the ACC is extremely well positioned with unlimited potential.”
“The ACC has long been a leader in intercollegiate athletics, both academically and athletically,” said the collective ACC Council of Presidents. “Collectively, we all agree the grant of rights further positions the ACC and its current and future member schools as one of the nation’s premier conferences.”
The ACC’s current and future 15-member institutions include:
Florida State University
Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Louisville
University of Miami
University of North Carolina
North Carolina State University
University of Notre Dame
University of Pittsburgh
University of Virginia
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Wake Forest University