Good morning Clemson Nation! This is today’s Clemson Tigers News.
Clemson might be exiting the ACC earlier than expected
Gene Sapakoff of the Charleston Post and Courier published a story yesterday about Clemson’s potential plans to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Sapakoff’s article is behind a paywall. It is linked in the post below, so if you have access to it, read it for yourself.
Sapakoff cited sources within the Clemson program who indicate the university’s exit from the could be happening ‘sooner than later’. His post also alluded to nervousness within the South Carolina program about such circumstances.
Jon Blau followed by suggesting we could hear something before the end of the year.
The staff at Tiger Illustrated confirmed that their belief is that we could see something before the end of October.
Again, this was previously behind a paywall, but now that they have posted it publicly, I can cite it here.
This brings up many things for the Tigers, some good, some bad and some mysterious.
The good is the possibility that Clemson will soon be able to seek membership in on of the Power Two conferences: the Southeastern Conference or the Big Ten. College football is evolving into a new structure that isn’t clearly defined, but it appears if a program wants to be certain to have a spot at the table, they need to be in either the SEC or Big Ten.
The bad is that the cost could still be enormous. The ACC Grant of Rights doesn’t expire until 2036. Right now we don’t know if Clemson has found a way out of the GOR, or simply a way to challenge it that could convince the ACC to sit down a negotiate a settlement. Even a settled amount could be a huge cost for Clemson.
Clemson Football might not get full shares for several years from either Power Two conference unless a bidding war starts
We also don’t know how much money the program will receive from either Power Two conference. There have been some schools recently, most notably Washington and Oregon, who have agreed to significantly reduced shares to join a Power Two conference. SMU recently agreed to take no money from the ACC for several years to join.
The unfortunate reality is the its a buyer’s market, and if the SEC offered a third of a full share, and the Big Ten offered a half of a share, those would be Clemson’s choices and they really couldn’t do anything about it. They would still be at a significant disadvantage to their conference mates for several years.
If both conferences really wanted the Tigers, they could start upping their bids, which would be a positive for Clemson, but right now we just don’t know the true market. The SEC already has a program in-state (which is what Sapakoff alluded to in his post) and the Big Ten traditionally favors schools who have membership in the Association of American Universities. Clemson is exploring membership in the AAU but isn’t a member right now.
The mysterious part has to do with the impact to the other sports: basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, etc. Football might be the driver, but the other sports would have to fit into which ever conference the Tigers joined.
Several have pointed out that this could have a notable impact for some sports like baseball and softball should Clemson join the Big Ten, which are not as strong in the ‘summer’ sports because in college, their seasons start in the winter.
On the other hand, if Clemson joined the SEC, it would impact men’s soccer. The SEC doesn’t currently offer the sport for league play, meaning the Gamecocks have to compete in the Sun Belt Conference.