Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Expansion stall leaves ACC looking bad

It might be too soon to say that the ACC acted too quickly in expanding to 14 teams this week, but another conference sure looks more attuned to what expansion means to athletes and fans.

The Pac 12 announced Tuesday night that it has decided - for now - against expansion. The conference had been considering adding Texas and Oklahoma, along with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

Instead, said commissioner Larry Smith: "We have decided that it's in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference."

We said earlier this week that the ACC was thinking money first - and students and fans second - by accepting Syracuse and Pittsburgh into the conference. Conference expansion not only dilutes rivalries by replacing them with non-rivalry games, it sends student-athletes from all teams to far-flung places on road trips that surely cut into class time.

We're sure that the Pac 12's decision had a lot to do with money, too - reportedly, the conference couldn't persuade Texas to share the revenue from its profitable new Longhorn Network. But now, with the Pac 12 apparently standing pat, along with the Big 10, the ACC is looking a little rash in grabbing two members who don't add very much to the conference mix. And the ACC's athletes, unlike those in other conferences, suffer.

Peter St. Onge


Wolfey79 said...

No comments about the SEC huh Pete. You're such an SEC homer.

Idlewild said...

Peter, that is ridiculous. There is only one reason the PAC-12 did not expand and that is because they are afraid of the arrogant self-entitlement that comes with Texas. The ACC has secured its future by making a pro-active move and is now much less susceptible to poaching by the SEC.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments. For the record, I don't think the SEC added anything with its formal offer to Texas A&M or informal offer to my alma mater, Missouri.

Idlewild: Yes, as I said, the Pac 12 didn't add Texas because it couldn't get Texas to share. But the ACC already had a secure future. It didn't need Syracuse and Pitt to stay secure now or down the road.



Idlewild said...

We will have to agree to disagree on the secure ACC future thing. There have been major rumblings about FSU, Clemson, and Va. Tech all looking at options other than staying in the ACC. It is inevitable that there will be 4 super conferences, the PAC-12 decision not withstanding. Texas has already ruined two conferences. It is not just their reluctance to share revenue, it is the elitist attitude that they bring to the table as well. Adding Pitt and Syracuse may not please the old guard ACC but it was necessary to position the conference to be a player in the future and not have the football schools poached by the SEC. A&M brings the Texas market to the SEC, which is no small thing. Mizzou I don't know much about, it seems they may be a better fit in the Big 10 but I believe they are making a move now so they will not be left out in the cold when all the dominoes fall. The Big 12 is done, it is just a matter of time.

One of many American Patriots said...

I'm certainly not going to attempt to speak for all ACC fans, but for this fan of over 30 yrs, I like the additions of Pitt & Syracuse. Travel time to either of those schools is still shorter for most schools than going to BC is, so that argument seems rather weak. From a basketball standpoint, these 2 new schools offer much more than BC, VT, or Miami did when they came in. Football, I don't really care. The ACC has been historically lacking in that sport and I don't see them turning that around anytime soon anyway. But maybe they will. Time will tell.

And with Notre Dame stating they are trying to stay independent, but if that doesn't work for them they would like to join the ACC, that would add another good basketball program to the mix. I'd be for that as well.

Look, things change. That's just the way it is. I personally think this change will make the ACC better in terms of basketball and they will regain their title of being the absolute best basketball conference in the nation. The Big East is sweating right now.

One other point, why are there so many different things I have to do just to comment on articles on this site? I have the Disqus thing going, but now I have to set up a google account to comment on these blogs? I use Yahoo for my email. Why do you guys have to make things so complicated just to participate? It's annoying.

Dan Elam said...

Peter, I disagree that the future was secure for the ACC. With FSU, VA Tech, Ga Tech, Clemson, UNC, and Clemson all variously mentioned as SEC targets (sone nit realistically) and Maryland as a Big 10 target, the ACC was, at the very least, in danger of falling behind. Given that the Pac1-12 tv deal pays approximately 50% more than the ACC package it means the ACC schools fall further behind in every sport since football funds almost everything. Do I long for simpler times? Sure. But the ACC was the smartest of all the conferences in this play that was forced on them. In fact, the rest of the country might well thank the ACC for stopping the dominos,

Michael said...

Dan Elam and Idlewild, I agree with your posts. This was a great proactive move by the ACC to secure its future for the long-term. To say that the ACC was not at risk is naive. After the ACC's addition of SU and Pitt, FSU's president still said the ACC must ensure it balances the need for premier football schools in future expansion.

I completely disagree with the article title. Thee ACC does not look bad, and had reasons other than pure survival to make the additions. BC hasn't been a great fit in the conference to date, in my opinion. Adding SU and BC helps to bridge that northeast gap.

As an aside, as much as I hate how much college athletics is driven financial matters, it is reality and will continue to so. As such, conferences, especially the ACC, need to find a way to get the NCAA out of the basketball championship business. There's untapped value there for basketball schools/conferences. Maybe 4 or 5 super conferences can do it by holding a tournament amongst themselves and not share basketball money with so many other schools. There's a lot of money in the NCAA tournament but it gets shared with everyone and their mama even if they suck in basketball. Here's someone's explanation of the NCAA tournament revenue sharing layout: a-basketball-tournament-revenue-sharing/

The NCAA tournament generates 774MM in revenue each year. The deal is worth 10.8Bn over 14 years.

The NCAA shares revenues with many schools, most of which aren't even in the tournament. This is the main reason why we won't see a playoff in football. No one wants to share those proceeds. Currently, schools that are bowl bound only share bowl proceeds with schools within their conference, if they're associated with a conference. This isn't a real idea, but if there were 4-16 school conferences, a basketball tournament of 64 could simply be held with all 64 teams in those conferences. Based on the current NCAA contract and assuming equal sharing amongst each of the 64 schools, each school would receive 12MM from the basketball tournament TV rights alone. I would argue that higher ranked schools should receive a larger share of the total pie. My only point is there is value in basketball that has not yet been realized. Here's another good reason to go to 4 super conferences.

Unknown said...

As a Utah fan who lived through the 16 team WAC, the ACC doesn't know what it has gotten itself into. This was a piss-poor move.
First, the ACC never earns a second BcS spot. So now you have 14 teams fighting for one BcS slot.
Second, now you only get to see opposing division teams every 3 years (in some circumstances). This scheduling was what killed the 16 team WAC. Everyone wanted to play rivals, but you couldn't.
Best of luck to you. But from what I have seen, the ACC blew it.

Bubba G said...

To compare the ACC to the WAC is ridiculous. Pitt and Syracuse belonged in the ACC before BC. It is a natural geographically with the wide expansion of other conferences. Pitt & Syracuse can continue to play each other along with old rival BC, Miami, VT, and Maryland, is a natural. Plus both Pitt and Syracuse are coming back in football and their basketball is excellent. If UConn and Rutgers come in, it will lock the entire Eastern Seaboard and Mid-Atlantic. The basketball will be incredible, football improving, and the TV Markets would be unparalled. Hats off to the ACC and all the Presidents for the outstanding move.

Anonymous said...

1) I almost stopped reading the article after you said called the Pac-12 commish "Larry Smith." His name is Larry Scott.

2) Expansion will in all likelihood affect no traditional rivalries. For one thing, the ACC has repeatedly shown a commitment to preserving those competitions, such as by creating the concept of "cross-divisional rivals." Furthermore, the idea of regional pods has arisen in the case of a 16-team superconference, and those pods would contain the vast majority of regional rivalries.

3) There is no cogent argument as to why adding Pitt and Syracuse is bad for ACC fans. It is clearly money-motivated, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It serves to further the conference's stellar reputation in basketball, and it's basically a push in football. Pitt and Syracuse are somewhere around the strength of an average ACC football team.

4) If the ACC can pull of the move it REALLY wants to do, and get Notre Dame and UConn to flesh out the 16-team model, the overall composition of the conference will look like it was brilliantly designed.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Can anybody please explain to me why the ACC still has an automatic BCS bid? Maryland has lost 6 in a row to West Virginia and 2 in a row to Middle Tennessee. Duke has lost 3 in a row to to RICHMOND(!). Va Tech lost last year to James Madison. Virginia lost 2 years ago to William and Mary and now 2 in a row to Southern Miss. Georgia Tech has lost 9 out of 10 to Georgia (including 2 years ago at home when they were 10-1 and Georgia was 6-5). Clemson has lost 2 in a row to South Carolina. FSU has lost 6 out of 7 to Florida. Miami has been absolutely pathetic for about a decade now and let's not even talk about the conference's 2-11 BSC record. I just don't get it, fellows. And now Syracuse and Pitt? Oh well, at least we'll be pretty good in basketball.