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May 10, 2016

ACC meetings started yesterday and the big topic that the media (and fans) wanted addressed: ACC Network. Still as clear as ever, which is not even a little.

But to the surprise of no one tracking this saga, ACC commissioner John Swofford plans no public enlightenment during this week’s league gathering at Amelia Island, Fla.

Swofford told the ACC Digital Network’s Jeff Fischel that he remains “very focused” on a sustainable television path for the conference. This he did without mentioning over-the-top (OTT) outlets such as Netflix and Hulu, and partner ESPN’s bleeding of traditional cable subscribers and subsequent personnel cuts.

“We think we’re in a really good position for the long-term,” Swofford told Fischel. “We’ve just got to make the right decisions and time things appropriately.”

“I don’t know that there will be public clarity,” Swofford said of this week. “I think we will move further down the trail of where we’re headed, without question. … We’re really just not going to have a whole lot more to say until we reach a point of saying something definitive. It takes some patience with that, but we’ll get to a good place, I’m confident.”

That was some well phrased nothing.

Every AD at the meeting either declined comment, demurred or echoed the empty words. Pitt AD Scott Barnes, for example.

Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes also declined to go into specifics about a potential ACC Network, but he acknowledged there’s a chasm that separates the ACC from some of the other power conferences.

“The more robust you develop your TV, whether that’s a network or other means, the better,” Barnes said. “There’s obviously a financial gap we all want to close. For our student-athletes, for our coaches and for our programs, you want more coverage.

“How do you get there? There are any number of ways to get there, whether it’s a network or expanded coverage otherwise. What you want to do is put yourself in the best position you can be in financially as it relates to coverage and building brand equity.”

The conference’s television committee and its athletic directors met for three hours Monday, one hour longer than they were scheduled to convene.

Expect this topic to continue to percolate over the summer with rumors bubbling periodically.

Another issue that is rife with complications is North Carolina’s Bathroom law.

The presidents and/or faculty at three ACC schools in the state — Duke, Wake Forest and North Carolina — have called for the law’s repeal, and NCAA president Mark Emmert said at the Final Four last month that HB2 “will most certainly be one of the variables as the (site selection) committee makes these decisions. It simply has to be. It’s simply far too important to all of our member schools.”

North Carolina is a frequent destination for NCAA championships, most notably the men’s basketball tournament. Raleigh hosted in 2014 and ’16 and Charlotte in ’15, with Greensboro and Charlotte on the docket for ’17 and ’18, respectively.

The ACC, which removed its 2009-11 baseball tournaments from South Carolina over the Confederate flag issue, staged, or will stage, 11 championships in North Carolina during 2015-16, including football in Charlotte, women’s basketball in Greensboro and baseball in Durham. Each of those events has multi-year contracts with those cities, and the ACC men’s basketball tournament is scheduled for Charlotte in 2019 and Greensboro in ’20.

Protesting HB2, Deutsche Bank and PayPal ditched plans for North Carolina job expansions, while entertainers such as Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen canceled shows in the state. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has all but said the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte hinges on repeal of HB2.

How seriously ACC schools object to HB2 figures to be evident later this week when the conference announces 2016-17 championship sites.

With better than a quarter of the membership, along with conference headquarters inside the state, this is not going to be a topic that the ACC can avoid much longer.

I don’t fully understand why Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt athletic department fully oppose satellite camps. They’ve been going on for years without much concern until Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh made it obvious that it was about recruiting.

I have trouble believing that it is about protecting the Western Pennsylvania turf. Not when PSU, OSU and WVU are all within a few hours drive. Heck even Michigan is not an absurd distance away. Those are the primary schools that Pitt has to worry locally. It seems that it is more to Pitt’s advantage to be able to participate in other regions of interest: NJ, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, etc.

As it stands, Pitt will be taking part in one of the camps in NJ in June.

One of them will be at Paramus Catholic on June 8, school president James Vail confirmed, growing the bond between U-M and the high school that produced top U-M recruits Jabrill Peppers and Rashan Gary, plus Chris Partridge, U-M’s linebackers and special teams coach who formerly coached Paramus.

Vail told U-M that he only had one suggestion — that Rutgers also be included — and Harbaugh didn’t flinch. But nj.com reported Friday night that new Rutgers coach Chris Ash declined the invitation.

Harbaugh already had been scheduled to be the commencement speaker at the high school the following day.

The Paramus camp reportedly will feature instruction from coaches from Boston College, Syracuse, Temple, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Villanova and Monmouth.

At least Pitt isn’t sitting still on principle. If they are allowed, use them.





Excellent read on Kiwi Stevie becoming a difference maker for OKC and a nightmare matchup for the Spurs … link to m.newsok.com

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.10.16 @ 9:00 am

Chas, first time I thought about the bathroom law having an impact on the ACC. So NCST has not taken a position? Another controversy that the ACC does not need.

Hate having the Big Ten and SEC channels on in PGH 24/7 and NO ACC Channel. Big competitive disadvantage.

Need to add UConn before they get gobbled up by somebody else. Great BBall and lots of TV sets. They also have the money to improve in football.

Going to look really stupid one day when ND chooses the Big Ten because of the Big Bucks.

Comment by gc 05.10.16 @ 9:29 am

@gc Absolutely no to UCONN. I do not think UCONN is as big of a draw as some think. Poeple up there only pay attention to its basketball program and Cuse and BC already pretty much dominate those markets. I agree on being at a competitive disadvantage though; we need an ACCN.

I think the players to watch here are OU and UT. Oklahoma apparently is split over whether to do this or not according to the below argument.

link to cbssports.com

I think the Big 12 may be overreacting to 2014 CFP’s debacle, but it does set precedent that if something similar happens in future years they would be left out again. That’s why adding UCONN is pointless in my opinion. Even some of the other schools do not do much to move the meter as far as perception.

I would still lookout for Texas here. If the conference adds somebody Texas does not want, they may make a call to ND and the ACC…

I think the ACC offers the stability and potential payout to put Texas on par with the large state schools in the SEC and B1G, more so then a stable Big12 would. The ACC needs this too…once 2025 comes around and the GOR expires, UVA, VT, and UNC may be more willing to listen to B1G $$$.

Comment by Timmeh 05.10.16 @ 9:44 am

From a Pitt fan’s perspective, I would be pleading with the ACC to be proactive and add Texas and Notre Dame as full members.

Comment by Timmeh 05.10.16 @ 9:45 am

Timmeh, I guess if geography does not matter Texas and OU may make sense, but I think you are dreaming. The big TV market is NY, and Baltimore/DC. The loss of Maryland really hurt as did Rutgers going to the B1G. Face it, we are the Atlantic Coast Conference without a team in the biggest population area. The Big Money is in TV, the ACC will never compete with the 100,000 seat stadiums in the SEC or B1G, but could compete in TV revenue, if they had any brains.

The ACC should have the best BBall viewership and should be getting more competitive in Football. That is the only reason to have ND, to turn the sets on for those games. Too bad Maryland was the only big school in the Baltimore/DC area, maybe the ACC should add Navy.

A rivalry between BC and UConn would really help viewership and interest in New England and New York. Lots of TV’s.

The problem with ACC football is that there are no big rivalry games, that is where the excitement and TV viewership comes from.

Comment by gc 05.10.16 @ 10:03 am

Great article on Adams. Too bad he didn’t stay one more year at Pitt. Might have been a Pitt and ACC legend.

Comment by gc 05.10.16 @ 10:16 am

BC couldn’t start a rivalry with a dead corpse right now.

Comment by Pittastic 05.10.16 @ 10:19 am

Comment by gc 05.10.16 @ 10:44 am

as big as a sleaze that I think Swofford is, I do have confidence is his conference leadership and vision.

Comment by wbb 05.10.16 @ 10:47 am

Geography is usually what makes great rivalries, other than ND vs USC etc. most are next door neighbors. The one thing that the new conference alignments have screwed up the most.

Comment by gc 05.10.16 @ 10:48 am

Let’s not forget John Swofford is a #1 sleeze bag. If it hadn’t been for ESPN & BC, Pitt could be playing its big game against Temple every year.

Did not expect Swofford to do anything about stupid HB1. He can’t even admonish serial cheaters like North Carolina to clean up their acts.

How does NC avoid the death penalty?

Anyway, Pitt-Penn State at the prudential center December 10. Double-header. Villanova-Notre Dame as well. Proceeds dedicated to 911 victims.

Maybe that’s another reason Dixon took the express train out of the burgh.

Comment by Tony77019 05.10.16 @ 11:02 am

The move to the ACC was not a good one for BC. Lucky for us they were stupid enough to blackball UConn, a team that would have helped to give them geographic relevance and a rival.

Pitt, PSU and WVU being in separate conferences has hurt all three schools to varying degrees.

Comment by gc 05.10.16 @ 11:05 am

off topic … but story on JD hiring very capable assistants at TCU (makes you wonder)

link to cbssports.com

Comment by wbb 05.10.16 @ 11:10 am

ND is the solution to the ACC network and filling in the NY viewers. Maybe it is time to strike a deal to ND that they cannot resist. Something similar to TX and their network and B12. Waiting to long with ND is a mistake.

Comment by Frank MD 05.10.16 @ 11:16 am

@gc I think if there’s one thing to take from the last round of expansion, its that proximity does not matter. Maryland did hurt I agree, and Rutgers was meh, but one thing that will hurt the B1G when it comes to both of those schools is that they will rarely compete in that division with PSU MSU OSU and Michigan. Sadly, I think Maryland would still be in the ACC if it weren’t for the Carolina schools and their ill managed finances.

Regarding stadium size and attendance, sure that helps those schools as direct revenue sources and looking good on TV, but make no mistake, TV contracts are the money maker and the ACC is very well positioned to capitalize on this.

Another thing to consider is that urbanization is a trend right now and more people are moving away from the midwest. This is why the B1G wants UVA and UNC, to add that future viewership. The ACC is already in a great position, theoretically speaking, for exposure and viewership. The ACC just needs to improve the football product in order to maximize its potential.

Also, The Big 12 was trying to poach Clemson and FSU (which is why UNC and UVA had their ears open to the B1G) because they knew these were the only real candidates that would improve their league or they would have expanded with other schools. This notion brings me back to OU and Texas. The article I provided above indicates they are leading the no expansion votes (even though OU voted yes to it). The Big 12’s only real shot at becoming a lucrative league was adding Clemson and FSU, not Navy, Cincy, UCONN, etc. In my opinion (and this entire entry is my opinion), Texas and OU are closer to leaving the Big 12 than waiting for it to expand.

That is why I don’t think the idea of ND and Texas Joining the ACC is such a pipe dream. If the conference votes to expand and OU/Texas don’t like what they see, I guarantee you they will call the Pac 12 & ACC respectively. It certainly will be interesting to see how things play out!

Comment by Timmeh 05.10.16 @ 11:26 am

The arguments for ND are reminiscent of the time when the Big East needed ND to join in order to save it. Of course, the ACC is not in the position that the Big East was…far from it.

Comment by panther94 05.10.16 @ 11:55 am

wbb, looks like Jamie is doing what we wanted him to do for the last 5 years. Maybe it was the budget.

Comment by gc 05.10.16 @ 11:55 am

panther94, but money talks. The ACC is far behind the SEC and B1G and at a huge financial deficit.

Officially paying players is not too far down the road, wait till that war starts.

Comment by gc 05.10.16 @ 11:59 am

Comment by wbb 05.10.16 @ 12:05 pm

The contract at Pitt was going to keep him at Pitt due to the buyout if fired. Thus the urgency to recruit hire better staff and win was simply not a standard while Nordy and Smiley were here. When Barnes came on board, Dixon knew the new bosses wanted better. Now Dixon at TCU is under the big time hire where results are expected. Thus Dixon has to get er done or else.

Comment by Chethejet 05.10.16 @ 12:46 pm

barnes was right in saying that Stallings has a larger recruiting base to work with. Thus the recruiting will expand under Stallings and I actually look for a renewed emphasis on being a top program.

Comment by Chethejet 05.10.16 @ 12:48 pm

There needs to be a tournament for the victims of 409 also.

Comment by Sfpitt 05.10.16 @ 4:24 pm

I’m a huge proponent of Narduzzi but his thoughts on concussions are a little disconcerting. Hopefully it’s a statement out of context but at face value appears very naive.

Pat Narduzzi on what he sees as a lack of data with concussions: “When you look at the results and all the talk, I think it’s media hyped.”

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.10.16 @ 5:02 pm

Jamie really underutilized Adams in his yr here.

Comment by alcofan 05.10.16 @ 9:38 pm

TT,
Not sure what you expect. Football is his career and a huge part of his upbringing. I understand that it’s a problem, but I’m just a fan and not financially tied to the sport.

Comment by panther94 05.10.16 @ 10:18 pm

With the latest round of conference realigment talk I’ve read about Notre Dame eventually severing ties with the ACC and joining the Big 10 as a full-time member in everything but football and a six-game commitment to Big Ten schools.

This would occur because the media rights to each conference school would be no less than $40,000,000 – $45,000,000 before additional funds are doled out based on bowls and the NCAA tournament.

Swofford can’t even get it together to form an ACC network let alone compete with the Big 10 revenue.

Think about it. In 2025-2027 a stunning alignment could occur. ACC schools will be picked off along with the Big 12. Three mega conferences: the Big Ten, SEC, and Pac 12.

Comment by Tony77019 05.10.16 @ 10:18 pm

Has anyone even read the amazing bill of NC. It’s not really a bathroom bill. That’s how it’s reported, just to get all the sheeple all mad. It’s mainly to keep locker rooms and showers separated by chromosomes not personal opinions. Evolution is so transphobic and hateful. Bad evolution…bad evolution

Comment by Dcpinpgh 05.10.16 @ 10:55 pm

Panther94 – I’d expect him to not be so flippant about it and deny it’s a problem and then allude to a media conspiracy. Like I said though, I didn’t read the entire exchange … it may have been taken out of context. At face value though it’s not an intelligent response.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 05.10.16 @ 11:22 pm

The Paramus Catholic camp is being framed as the enemy. Rutgers is going with OSU and Temple and all the coaches from the big powerhouses are telling their kids to go there.

The new RU coach isn’t fucking around. Seems that they have their own Narduzzi type guy.

Comment by Chris 05.11.16 @ 7:03 am

Steve Adams sending Tim Duncan into retirement. Great career Tim.

Comment by alcofan 05.11.16 @ 7:19 am

@Dcpinpgh, indeed.

Comment by Dan 05.11.16 @ 9:41 am

One strategic approach to ND is as follows. In many M&A deals, the one being acquired has a potential “earn out” stipulation. The ACC should offer what the other universities get on a yearly basis and then a percentage share of revenue increase directly related, or tied back to ND’s participation.

Both sides win. ND gets special treatment (which they will get in any conference) and gets to maximize their revenues. They will never see themselves on par with other ACC institutions. Re-negotiate every 10 years. Done.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.11.16 @ 1:15 pm

And of course…the acc network! Good grief.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.11.16 @ 1:16 pm

The earlier post by someone relates to ND not helping the BE which if they had helped would have probably saved the BE. The ACC is much stronger than the old BE so I say the ACC should tell ND to join in FB or they will look elsewhere for possible expansion and a network.

Comment by Frank MD 05.11.16 @ 5:06 pm

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