Conference Realignment Looms Large Over ACC Media Day

Jul 20, 2022, 11:28 AM | Updated: 12:21 pm
ACC Football...
Detail view of ACC logo on Syracuse Orange uniforms before the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on November 12, 2016 at The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- The ACC Conference started their Media Days on Wednesday morning with conference realignment still looming large in the national conversation about college football. Commissioner Jim Phillips addressed the media to kickoff ACC Media Days, and while most of what he said was pretty general, there were a few things that stood out in regards to the current climate of college football.

The ACC is of particular interest in the conference realignment conversation because of rumored negotiations between themselves and the Pac-12 (10) to form some kind of partnership to increase TV revenue while allowing both conferences to continue existing in their current state. While commissioner Phillips never came out and said anything outright about any potential deals coming down the pipeline, he was very adamant about the need to keep college football in a “healthy” place and the ACC’s commitment to help in that effort.

Conference Realignment And The ACC

The Pac-12 Conference was recently rocked by news that USC and UCLA plan to defect to the Big Ten in 2024 and have been working to come up with solutions to keep themselves intact. A potential solution that was presented was forming some kind of partnership or merger with the ACC, who is currently stuck in a Grant of Rights deal till 2036, to shop TV rights in an attempt to earn both conferences extra money while also presenting some interesting athletic match-ups and research opportunities at the academic level. As part of that idea, Pac-12(10) Commissioner George Kliavkoff opened up the conference’s media rights a year early for negotiations currently holding a 30-day exploratory window open with ESPN and FOX. That 30-day window will close on August 4th.

Since Kliavkoff has opened up negotiations for the Pac-12’s media rights, talk about partnering in some way with the ACC has gone fairly radio silent. In the sports world that can mean one of two things: 1) there is some serious negotiating going on, 2) it was much ado about nothing. While the situation could go either way, what leads me personally to believe details are still being negotiated between the two conferences is the recent blowup with the Big 12 Conference announcing they are done talking to the Pac-12 about a potential partnership due to not being able to find a good revenue solution. That announcement feels like part of the reason for those failed negotiations is because the Pac-12 found something better with the ACC (or something else that has yet to be stated) that they are currently working on.

Could this thought process be wrong? Absolutely. Could it change tomorrow? Also, yup. All that can truly be counted on in this wild new world of college football is that the most obvious answer most likely isn’t the ultimate solution. Such is the nature of the “cloak and dagger” moves in conference realignment when the players only want us to know what is really up when they are good and ready.

Jim Phillips’ Thoughts On Current State Of College Football

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips had a few thoughts on where things currently stand in college football and with his conference without giving any state secrets away before they are ready. In terms of what conference realignment currently looks like, Phillips quipped that college sports should be a full “neighborhood” and not separate “gated communities”.

As far as what the ACC is looking to do right now, Phillips was adamant all options were on the table. He was especially careful to note that revenue is only one piece of the puzzle in figuring out what to do going forward.

Phillips also talked about the need for creativity when navigating the ever-evolving world of conference realignment with a further emphasis on everyone needing to be “healthy”. That particular statement feels interesting especially if in fact the ACC is exploring options with the Pac-12 (10) like was previously reported when Kliavkoff opened up the Pac’s media rights.

When asked about if there were any concerns of the ACC’s GORs being toyed with, Phillips was pretty confident that there was no such concern, especially with the nine-figure penalty attached for breaking it. Phillips ended the comment stating he likes where the future of the conference is heading. Could this mean something in terms of a potential partnership with the Pac-12 (10)? Sure, but like everything with conference realignment we’ll just have to wait for whatever official announcement could be coming one way or the other.

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Conference Realignment Looms Large Over ACC Media Day