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May 9, 2016

Even if nothing comes of it, the late-spring/summer brings talk of conference realignment/expansion/chaos. These days, most of that is emanating from the Big XII.

Conference meetings have been happening. The ACC has theirs this week. The Big XII had a preliminary meeting last week, but don’t have their real meetings until after Memorial Day.

It always boils down to money, but the Big XII is wrapping this one up primarily in the matter of the College Football Playoff. How a more members and an unbalanced schedule is actually a plus for getting teams into the CFB playoff.

During the Big XII meetings they were given information supporting that position. The problem is, who do they take? They know there is no one in the other four major conferences. That essentially leaves BYU and teams in the American.

Since any expansion dovetails with a TV network, look to the markets of possible candidates. For now, the top four are believed to be Connecticut, BYU (which has a national following), Cincinnati and possibly Colorado State (Denver market), although the situation is fluid.

Memphis is pushing hard, with FedEx money behind it. I still remain doubtful of BYU with their LDS restrictions that I’m not sure the rest of the Big XII membership wants the accompanying headaches. UConn just wants out of the American and damn the distance.

The Big XII remains a mess, because they have no chance at getting a network off the ground unless they can fold the Longhorn Network into it. And that would require Texas to give up the money they get and the ego boost of their own personal network.

For one thing, folding the Longhorn Network — as well as the third-tier deals of other conference schools — into a Big 12 network is one key potential puzzle piece. While from afar the Longhorn Network looks like an epic disappointment and even a punch line, it’s a major source of university pride for UT folks. How many universities have their own network?

Rest assured, Texas will not agree to anything unless it’s guaranteed all the money remaining on its current LHN contract with ESPN — and maybe not then. Consider what Texas AD Mike Perrin said in Phoenix:

“I can’t say I’ve got an open mind on any of these issues,” Perrin said. “I can say I’ve got an open mind for receiving data.”

The only thing that might play the role in changing Texas’ mind is what happened with the Big 10 media rights deal. The B1G hit it big with selling only half their rights to FOX for through 2024-25.

That is huge. Not just the money they are generating, but the timing. That happens to be just around the time as the media rights come up for the ACC, Pac-12 and Big XII.

The Big 12 has a media rights agreement with ESPN and FOX that runs until the 2024-2025 season. The PAC-12 has a similar deal with ESPN and FOX running through the 2024-2025 season. Notre Dame’s contract to televise football games on NBC will expire in 2025. The ACC’s exclusive deal with ESPN wraps up a season later, in 2026-2027.

If you don’t think that there is some long-term planning on more possible conference expansion by the Big 10 by then, well then you haven’t been paying attention.

Obviously the Big 12 would be the most vulnerable. Oklahoma and Texas are still programs the B1G would love to have in the the conference. Their media money is even showing signs of lagging behind the ACC. But let’s not kid ourselves that the ACC member schools wouldn’t be targeted.

We’ve all heard the rumors before of the B1G having standing offers to schools like UNC, Virginia and possibly Georgia Tech. When the money gets that big, and the gap even larger, you don’t assume anything. Even ND might finally decide it has no choice.

That also explains why there is such increased urgency by ACC powers to resolve the issue of an ACC Network this year. Not simply to get more money annually — though that is obviously a big part of it — but to protect the conference.

A resolution to actually create an ACC network — whether a straight-up channel or a hybrid that has digital distribution — would necessitate a redoing of the media rights agreement. Specifically, it would certainly include extending the time on the rights deal.

An extension of the rights deal is in the ACC’s best interest as it makes it that much more unlikely the B1G could poach ACC schools — as the grant of rights would also be extended.

I’ve said for two years that having no ACC network is a major competitive disadvantage. It hurts recruiting in all sports for multiple reasons. Obviously hurts revenue. Maybe these guys are finally waking up.

ND to the Big Ten for Hockey got little mention, but I think it is another middle finger to the ACC.

Comment by gc 05.09.16 @ 7:54 am

The ACC not picking up UConn now is a big mistake.Great basketball and lots of NY and CT TV’s to be gained.

Comment by gc 05.09.16 @ 7:57 am

ACC should add Oklahoma and Texas

Comment by Boo Boo #1 05.09.16 @ 8:00 am

link to

The denial continues. They prefer to believe that a 60 year old victim, who has paid by them and has a corroborated story and has been harassed by the deniers, would what? Make up the story that Paterno intimidated him to go away.

Comment by gc 05.09.16 @ 8:05 am

So Eric Barron’s knee jerk reaction is to blame the media. Not to say, we need to get to the bottom of these allegations (that they thought they had paid to go away).

I would say that the media has follen way short of doing its job to reveal the truth and details of this tragedy. That PSU is once again blaming the victims and covering up.

They appear to have learned nothing and changed nothing in their corporate culture.

Comment by gc 05.09.16 @ 8:12 am

Follow the money drives college FB. Us in ACC (I never liked them before because of NC power) is where we should be. WVU and PSU should also be ACC teams but that is another whole ballgame. Go Pens.

Comment by Frank MD 05.09.16 @ 8:30 am

So Barron believes the university paid a victim of Sandusky in 1971 and Paterno knew nothing about it. Yea, right.

Comment by Grizzly1 05.09.16 @ 8:41 am

I don’t think they paid him until recently.

Paterno controlled the media and message for forty years. Barron wants to blame the media for finally doing its job. Wants us to believe that a 60 year old man, is just telling a story. Even though a friend corroborates that he was told in the seventies.

Barron wants us to believe that poor Penn State is being treated badly by a media that failed miserably to investigate over many years.

This is a story that should never be allowed to go away. It represents everything that is wrong with college football and should be a cautionary tale, about right and wrong.

Comment by gc 05.09.16 @ 8:50 am

Last day of Chemo for James Conner.

Keep him in your thoughts.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.09.16 @ 9:18 am

Well the clause in ND’s contract with the ACC is that if they were to join a conference, it would have to be the ACC.

With that said, I’m not exactly sure what the difference would be in maintaining independence as opposed to joining the ACC, but you’d have to think ND would be interested in joining solely because it would make their path to the playoff that much easier. This in turn, would lead to larger paydays because of playoff money, plus they would still get paid in non-playoff years due to revenue sharing.

I understand the Big XII expansion situation is very fluid and its cash cow, Texas, may not like who the conference chooses to join. In this case, if I’m John Swofford, I make a play for Texas to join with possibly ND. Remember there was a little smoke here in past years when it came to ACC expansion. The longhorn network could possibly provide the framework to evolve into the ACC network too, though this is unlikely.

But can you imagine if the ACC pulls that one off? ND & Texas to round out a 16 team conference? I guarantee that puts you on par with the SEC and B1G. I think the prospect of SEC & B1G running away in revenue is very worrisome to some major players, like Texas. FSU, Clemson, FSU, Texas & ND would make the ACC a very credible and stable conference, and a powerhouse…

Comment by Timmeh 05.09.16 @ 9:22 am

Chas – very good read on the state of the industry and TV Sports Contracts. The Longhorn Network is mentioned … this is probably a big reason why the ACC Network has been so slow to get off the ground.

link to

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.09.16 @ 9:56 am

Doesn’t the Big 12 have a grant of rights??

If it does, I don’t think the ACC can cherry pick anyone.

Apparently a GOR really does stop teams from being poached because the conference gets to keep schools tv rights and money.

And this isn’t some 20 million buyout, this is hundreds of millions of dollars. So, even to try to sue, a settlement would still be a hundred million dollars.

I’m no lawyer, I don’t know details, but this is the jist of why GOR was so important to the ACC, and why no one really tries to poach teams involved in a conference with a GOR.

I may be wrong.

Comment by Dan 05.09.16 @ 10:56 am

I say BYU finally gives in on the Sunday thing and Cincinnati for a WVU travel partner would be my guess if anything happens.

Comment by Dan 05.09.16 @ 10:58 am

gc I will comment more when I get time but you are correct about Ped State. All the coaches knew, Jo just wanted to win. If my health holds I want to write a book about the pr campaign to recover his “legacy” amongst other aspects of this case. We must NEVER FORGET. As Churchill replied when asked how history would treat him “It will treat me fine. I intend to write it.” Ped State cannot be allowed to re-write the most heinous scandal in the history of the American University. Note I don’t limit it to sports, nothing compares to this in the history of American Universities, nothing. Protecting pedophiles and lettingg 32 boys be raped is Paterno’s legacy.
Wonder what the lame duck AG who owed her election to Ped State cultists will do with the 3 blind mice. Will they walk? Hmmmm

Comment by rkb 05.09.16 @ 11:01 am

The big12 solution is right in front of them and they can’t see it. They can continue to play their games as scheduled. What they need to do is to take the top 2 teams at the end of the year and have them play each other, thus giving the winner a better opportunity to reach the playoff. Typically, they would have 2 teams in the top 10. If 5 plays 7, it would be a quality win and might even be stronger than a Wisconsin -OSU bigly 10 championship game.

Is 32 a lot of kids? Is 50? Why can’t the world be angry at just 1? If you think 32 is the number, you all are wrong. Those are the ones that came forward. You could reasonably expect another 30 that wouldn’t necessarily report it for fear of being satanized by a misinformed and misguided media and university.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.09.16 @ 11:45 am

If Narduzzi reaches his potential, I think Pitt will survive the Expansiopocalypse to end all Expansiopocalypses in 2025.

Comment by Chris 05.09.16 @ 7:06 pm

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