The SEC and Big Ten continue to separate themselves from the rest of college sports. What was once the Power 5 [ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 & PAC-12] is quickly becoming the Power 2 [SEC & Big Ten].
Much of the ACC’s issues are due to their TV rights deal. While the SEC and Big Ten have television deals that mean each of their schools receive roughly half of what the ACC’s deal awards each team. That means lower-tier schools in each conference are receiving much more money than the top teams in the ACC, PAC-12 and Big 12. And that gap will continue to widen.
Another issue for the ACC is the grant of rights. What is the grant of rights? Here’s this from Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated:
A subset of seven schools in the 14-member conference has coalesced over what many of them describe as an untenable situation. Officials from the seven schools, led by Florida State and Clemson, have met a handful of times over the last several months, with their lawyers examining the grant-of-rights to determine just how unbreakable it is.
Per the grant-of-rights, each ACC school gives ownership of its broadcasting rights to the league in a deal with ESPN that runs through 2036. If a school breaks the deal, the ACC will continue to own the TV rights of any of that school’s home games, according to the contract.
The seven schools Dellenger mentioned are what Brett McMurphy of the Action Network called the “Magnificent Seven” on Monday. They are Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia and Virginia Tech. And these schools have met in recent months, with lawyers, to determine what it would take to challenge the ACC’s grant of rights, which no one has challenged to this point and many feel is unbreakable.
Clemson, FSU, Miami, UNC, NC State, Virginia & Virginia Tech are “The Magnificent 7” ACC schools, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. These schools, @RossDellenger reported, have met in past several months, w/lawyers examining grant-of-rights to determine just how unbreakable it is.…— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) May 15, 2023
McMurphy and Dellenger plugged in. This is real. And while we do not know the outcome, nor will I speculate, this, to me, is outstanding news for Virginia Tech. These seven schools need another institution to stand with them. Who will it be? Here’s how I view it: The Hokies and the other six schools aren’t standing put. The ACC got itself into this mess. The 14 schools are paying the price — literally and figuratively. Something has to change. But will it?
The good news is Virginia Tech, for once, isn’t sitting around waiting. Tech, along with other premier institutions in ACC, is taking a stand. Instead of waiting around on the ACC to figure out a way to create some additional revenue, these schools are looking at all options, including challenging the league in court.
Get your popcorn ready. This should be fun.
We will continue to monitor this story as it plays out.