The Atlantic Coast Conference is going Pacific.
ACC presidents approved an expansion measure to add Stanford, Cal and SMU, sources tell Yahoo Sports, ending a month-long saga into an issue that divided the league. It was not a unanimous decision.
Conference administrators, led by commissioner Jim Phillips, spent the last three weeks exploring new expansion models in an attempt to convince membership to support the idea after a presidential straw poll on Aug. 9 fell one vote short of approval. During that meeting, Clemson, FSU, North Carolina and NC State were against expansion.
But new financial models developed over the last 10 days pushed the conversation forward and created more momentum. It was enough to swing one vote (NC State), giving the league the necessary 12 votes for expansion. The models featured further monetary concessions from expansion members, an incentive for the original 14 schools.
Under the ACC’s most recent proposal, Stanford and Cal would take a reduced TV share (~30% or roughly $8 million) and SMU was expected to take no TV share for as many as nine years. The concessions free up about $55 million to be distributed to ACC teams both evenly and through an incentive pool primarily rewarding football success.
The additional money is coming from ESPN, which is contractually obligated to pay the league a Tier 1 TV share (roughly $24 million) for each additional expansion member — a total of $72 million. The schools would see an escalation in their shares through the Grant of Rights and they’d receive non-TV ACC shares from the NCAA tournament, CFP and the incentive pool.
The incentive pool from the additional expansion revenue is heavily weighted on football success. In one proposal circulated among officials, the cash would be distributed based only on football success. It’s unclear if that proposal has been formalized. A school that reaches all football incentives (national title) stands to get as much as $10 million in additional cash.
The ACC’s expansion proposal is expected to address cross-country travel for the original 14 members, plus Notre Dame. In one proposal circulated among officials, each of a school’s sports programs would be scheduled to travel to Stanford and Cal only once every other year.
In another component that still needs formalization, the eastern schools and the two new western members would meet in Dallas to conduct competition in Olympic sports, sources tell Yahoo Sports. SMU's location would provide a hub of sorts to reduce travel costs.