ACC Expansion: Stanford, Cal & SMU to Join in 2024
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) will witness a significant expansion in its football membership in 2024. According to reliable sources, the coveted West Coast universities of Stanford and California-Berkeley, along with Southern Methodist University (SMU), are set to join the league’s roster.
Membership Approval & Revenue Arrangements
In an executive voting process by the league’s presidents, the required minimum of 12 out of the 15 votes supported the inclusion of the new schools, enabling the ACC’s football membership to surge to a potent combination of 17 schools. The inclusion comes with an interesting financial agreement- primarily for SMU. The Dallas-based institution will not be getting any media rights revenue for the first seven years of its membership.
Stanford and Cal, on the other hand, can expect to receive revenue from media rights. However, the shares will be reduced in comparison to other ACC members.
The ESPN Factor
One of the driving factors behind this decision by the ACC has been the league’s ongoing media rights deal with ESPN. For those unaware, this agreement allows ESPN to renegotiate the terms if the ACC’s membership dips below 15. With the possible future exodus of Florida State University (FSU), the University of Clemson, and the University of North Carolina (UNC) – all of whom voted against the expansion – the league’s preventative move can be seen very positively.
By opting to include power five (P5) schools now as opposed to Group of Five (G5) schools later, the ACC maintains its required membership number and ensures its ongoing partnership with ESPN.