Despite the attention, hype, angst or any other reaction created over the past few days, it does not appear that the Atlantic Coast Conference will expand at this time.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel posted yesterday evening that the discussions within the conference have met difficulties and it appears they will not be able to overcome them.
The ACC was considering the addition of Stanford and California from the PAC-12 Conference, which experienced significant attrition in the past couple of weeks due to difficulties with finding a new television contract.
There were also reports that SMU was being considered for addition to the conference as well.
Tiger Illustrated’s Larry Williams posted the same thing more succinctly.
The idea seemed odd from the moment the news broke. Both Bay Area schools are well respected academically, and it is understandable why a conference like the ACC might be intrigued by them. The conference has always valued academic prowess.
The reality is that academic prowess doesn’t bring value, specifically in the form of revenue. On that side, the conference was likely considering if adding two Power Five programs from the Bay Area might improve distribution for the ACC Network. This is likely why SMU was added to the list as well.
The reasons for at least considering the move are understandable. The reasons for not proceeding are more understandable. The reason for not even entertaining the idea mostly have to do with perception, but perception could be the most damaging thing for a conference that is already seen as treading water until their most valuable programs can exit or buyout the Grant of Rights.
There is no reason the ACC should not consider adding programs further west if they bring a value add. It would be a no brainer to add Notre Dame if they were willing to join, even though they are in the Midwest. Conferences in this day shouldn’t feel they need to be restricted to the regionality they have stuck to for many years. College football is becoming a national sport.
Adding West Coast schools never made sense for the ACC or Clemson Football, and the public discussion has made the conference look slow and lost
Jumping all the way to the West Coast when the westernmost member (Louisville) is over 2,000 miles further east requires some big value to be added. USC, and to some extent UCLA, Oregon and Washington, add that value for the Big Ten, but if the Big 12 didn’t feel Stanford or Cal brought that value, it is hard to believe that they could add value for the ACC. It didn’t take fans much to add one and one to get two on that point.
The ACC would be prudent to have a few people crunch some numbers to see if anything had changed, and there was at least one variable that might have been altered in the past couple of weeks. The Bay Area schools might have been willing to take less money now than they would have before the PAC-12 disintegrated.
The problem was that this process became public for the ACC and brought the wrong kind of attention. If traditional ACC fans still don’t like the additions of Syracuse and Boston College, there is no logic to thinking the current fans would embrace Stanford, Cal or SMU unless there was a major value add, and most everyone knew there wasn’t a major value add. This entire thing made the ACC look slow and lost. Publicly, they would have been better off staying out of it.