Expansion/Realignment (11pm Update)

So, just to recap, here’s where we stand:

In a move I don’t necessarily like, but entirely understand (the cozy little basketball conference most of us grew up with is long gone), Syracuse and Pittsburgh are officially in the ACC, which doesn’t exactly thrill Jim Boeheim (ESPN):

The Big East has held its tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York every year since 1983. On Sunday, ACC commissioner John Swofford broached the topic of holding the ACC tournament at Madison Square Garden in the future, but it is already scheduled to be held in Atlanta in 2012 and in Greensboro, N.C., the following three years.

“It’s a great place for a tournament,” Boeheim said of New York. “Where would you want to go to to a tournament for five days? Let’s see: Greensboro, North Carolina, or New York City? Jeez. Let me think about that one and get back to you.”

Wonderful, that’s all we need in the ACC is more arrogant elitism; as if Carolina and Duke aren’t already smothering us in it. For the record, the ACC Tournament paved the way for the Big East Tournament and others, yet none of those ever matched the intensity and charm of the original, which has been held in Greensboro more than anywhere else. Surely us southern folks must be doing something right.

On Sunday, it appeared Texas was strongly considering the ACC, and Connecticut and Rutgers (we already have Duke, it seems we’d already carry the New Jersey market) have both been mentioned as 15 and 16; even seems to be some speculation regarding Penn State. But my personal feeling is that the ACC may pause at 14 as it evaluates its new position in the market, and more importantly, the potential value of its renegotiated TV contract. I think it’s at least plausible now that Texas appears headed to the Pac-12 that the ACC is waiting to see how the Big Ten — sorry, B1G — and SEC each respond.

We know the SEC already has Texas A&M and we now know that West Virginia has been rejected by both the SEC and ACC (CBSSports). Based on this, the logical target to become the SEC’s 14th member is Missouri, which apparently has an offer to join as soon as the Big XII is officially defunct (Kansas City Star). Of course, this will be any day now considering Oklahoma and Texas have each been cleared by their respective board of regents to leave the Big XII and pursue membership in the Pac-12, and take Oklahoma State and Texas Tech with them (ESPN).

Most indications suggest the SEC may very well stop at 14 (for now) and the B1G doesn’t seem intent on expanding beyond 12 (for now). I think — hope — the ACC may be hesitant to expand beyond 14 just for the sake of expanding. Keep in mind, this is all entirely football-centric, and if the SEC and B1G can’t increase revenue per member with 16, then there’s zero chance the ACC could do it. It’s at least plausible to suggest the B1G and ACC are each waiting to see which direction Notre Dame leans; sources have indicated that if Notre Dame is forced to join a conference, it would be the ACC, which Dan Wetzel thinks is a great idea (Yahoo!). I think so, too.

So, as of right now, what we’re left with is potentially the remnants of the Big XII and Big East talking merger (Yahoo!).

Oh, and don’t forget that the Pahrats want us all to know they’re available, too (WRAL).

8pm Update:
Is it possible that the Big XII can be salvaged? Oklahoma — Boomer Sooner is not a happy camper about how Dan Beebe has been handling things — now says it will consider staying in the Big XII…conditionally (ESPN):

According to the source, the Big 12 presidents don’t believe Beebe handled the departures of Nebraska and Texas A&M adequately. The Big 12 has lost three members in the last 15 months, and, according to the source, “the relationships were so bad (with) the commissioner.”

According to the Big 12 bylaws, a majority vote among the member schools is needed to oust the commissioner.

Beebe received an extension through June 2015 from the Big 12 in November 2010. University of Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, chairman of the league’s board of directors, said Beebe had been “an outstanding leader” during challenging times.

Beebe received a raise from $661,000 to $997,000 in 2009 before the Big 12’s first near breakup.

Oklahoma has also demanded that Texas modify some of its plans for the Longhorn Network. Big 12 members were angered by the network’s agreement with Fox Sports to move a conference game to the Longhorn Network and its decision to show high school highlights after the Big 12 voted to keep televised high school games off school-branded networks.

The source told the Oklahoman that a move by Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the Pac-12 wasn’t inevitable.

Is this a power move by Oklahoma? Absolutely. Keep in mind, Oklahoma is currently in a better and more flexible position than Texas. Oklahoma can move to the Pac-12 much easier than Texas, because it isn’t contractually-bound to a network produced by the minority shareholder in the new Pac-12 TV deal. Sure, any conference commissioner would sell whatever’s left of his cold, dead soul to have the most popular program in the second most-populous state join its ranks, but poor ol’ Texas, seemingly unwilling to share the wealth from the network it founded to promote itself and no one else, is having a difficult time finding a new home.

Meanwhile, before Syracuse and Pittsburgh bailed, the Big East was apparently targeting both Air Force and Navy (CBSSports). Not sure how those two leaving would affect an invitation to those schools — seems to me you need them now more than ever, especially considering the service academies appreciate such a far-reaching appeal.

11pm Update
Andy Katz reports that the Pac-12 has voted against further expansion, at least for now (ESPN). Take from this what you want, but this almost certainly means the revenue projections didn’t support it. Or maybe no one wants to be aligned with Texas?

This all continues to be very interesting/confusing/frustrating. The only thing of which we can be wholly certain is that there is far too much money at stake to be concerned about how this negatively affects the fans or student-athletes.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

ACC Teams

68 Responses to Expansion/Realignment (11pm Update)

  1. 61Packer 09/20/2011 at 2:38 PM #

    Maybe the average well-Heeled Tar Heel fan would love 5 days in NYC, but the average ACC fan who has to count his dollars would rather see the tourney in Greensboro.

    Why not hold the damn thing in San Francisco? I hear it’s an interesting place to visit………..

  2. 61Packer 09/20/2011 at 2:42 PM #

    If we expand to 16, why would we NOT want West Virginia, which to me is clearly the best overall athletic school in the BE, especially in football, which this is supposed to be all about.

    But it ain’t. It’s all about money.

  3. LRM 09/20/2011 at 2:48 PM #

    It seems that adding West Virginia doesn’t enhance your TV footprint enough to increase the revenue per member, which is really what this all comes down to.

  4. Wulfpack 09/20/2011 at 2:49 PM #

    Reports that the ACC and Notre Dame are talking.

  5. Flannel Avenger 09/20/2011 at 2:50 PM #

    Is the ACC Tournament even going to matter with 14 teams? Is the play in game going to be on Wednesday now?

    And I’m sure that Duke would love to have the tournament in Madison Square Gardens. But in terms of revenue generated for the ACC, I doubt that they’ll be able to convince people to travel that far for the new format tournament.

    However, this may open up opportunities for us. We could always crank the Dixie Classic back up…

  6. primacyone 09/20/2011 at 2:57 PM #

    Mr. Boeheim oblivously does not understand or have ever expereinced anything like the traditions and passion of ACC basketball and the ACC tournament.

    I go to NY City to see NY City. I go to the ACC baskeball tournament to be completly engulfed in the passions and traditions of ACC basketball. One of those traditions is Greensboro.

    Hopfully Mr. Boeheim will not be in town long when he comes down for the Tournament.

  7. Astral Rain 09/20/2011 at 2:57 PM #

    Villanova has applied. They’re bringing their football up to I-A.

    They’d bring the Philly market and some good basketball, I think they’d make good sense to add, even if the football isn’t up to snuff yet.

    I think at a minimum, they’d be better then Rutgers.

  8. primacyone 09/20/2011 at 3:18 PM #

    ^I’d rather have USF and the Tampa market than Villanova and the Philly market.

    We should be getting the Philly market from a TV money perspective with Pitt already.

  9. Ashman87 09/20/2011 at 3:22 PM #

    Hey Astral Rain,where did you find out about Nova applying and bringing their football up to 1-A?

  10. rtpack24 09/20/2011 at 3:23 PM #

    Mr Boeheim does not have to pay for his trip to NYC. Not including travel the expenses would eliminate alot of the fans and most students from attending the event. This entire process is being driven by football. It is my understanding the ACC is using all the leverage they have to get Notre Dame to pull the trigger for the ACC. It is sad that in a few short months the entire landscape of college atheletics will change forever all because of money.

  11. primacyone 09/20/2011 at 3:24 PM #

    And technically speaking, ECU could compete very well with Big East Football, if not be the top 1 or 2 team on a fairly consistant basis.

    I’d expect the Big East to grab ECU this time around and get the NC market. 50,000 average buts in the seats is nothing to sneeze about.

    Wouldn’t that be the life – ECU plays in a big BCS bowl game on a consistant basis while the pack makes another trip to the Pizza or Tire bowl!

  12. LRM 09/20/2011 at 3:27 PM #

    “I’d expect the Big East to grab ECU this time around and get the NC market. 50,000 average buts in the seats is nothing to sneeze about.

    It has zero to do with attendance/ticket sales. Zilch. Most schools (including State) hardly cover operational expenses with ticket and gameday-related sales, so the conference most certainly doesn’t benefit from it. The conference makes money from TV revenues.

  13. HPWolf 09/20/2011 at 3:28 PM #

    Mr. Boeheim is worried he may never win another conference tournament. He knows what we so painfully know. Beating the boys in blue aint easy.

  14. JasonP 09/20/2011 at 3:34 PM #

    I halfway expect the Big East to grab ECU simply to spite the 4 ACC schools in NC.

    ND and PSU are the dream acquisitions of the ACC should it go to 16 teams. ‘Nova is pointless – we’d be better off with Temple.

  15. gotohe11carolina 09/20/2011 at 3:36 PM #

    I’d love to see msg put into a five year rotation for thee acc tournament. two in charlotte two in greensboro and one in msg. more than likely though we’ll end up with atl and msg getting the bulk and charlotte and greensboro getting phased out. they might throw dc in the mix just to get rid of greensboro. I just hope they get rid of basketball in football domes. the games are always crappy when they play in domes.

  16. primacyone 09/20/2011 at 3:38 PM #

    “It has zero to do with attendance/ticket sales. Zilch. Most schools (including State) hardly cover operational expenses with ticket and gameday-related sales, so the conference most certainly doesn’t benefit from it. The conference makes money from TV revenues.”

    I didn’t say it did. I’was implying thate there will will be as many eyeballs watching ECU football on TV as there are watching any other Big East team except maybe WVU. In fact there may be more eyeballs watching ECU football than WVU. And therefore not only does the Big East get the NC TV market to bargain with, they also get as good as school as any they arleady have when it comes to eyeballs watching football on TV. Therefore, even the TV makes since, and ECU would be a great get for the Big East.

    I was also staying that it is going to really, really suck when ECU makes the BCS bowl game, with even more eyeballs watching, and we make a chit bowl.

  17. zwolf 09/20/2011 at 3:39 PM #

    When the string-pullers are looking to shuffle the conferences around, I believe that how much TV money can be brought in matters more than how much merchandise is sold, how many fans show up to the games, what the traditions are at a school, or how well any school educates or competes. The number of advertising victims each school brings in has been figured out by some number crunchers at the NY Times, but it looks like some of their numbers are way off. It’s better than anything else I’ve seen, though:


    By their numbers, ECU has 350k pairs of eyes watching ads during football games, compared to 470k for State or 1700k for Clemson.

    West Virginia and Rutgers both have more eyes that Pitt and Syracuse.

    So given that WVA has been denied ACC membership, either the ACC has a better source of numbers than this and made the right choice adding Pitt and Syracuse instead of WVA and Rutgers, the ACC has less reliable numbers than this and got the wrong schools, or I’m wrong about how this works.

  18. NCStatePride 09/20/2011 at 3:42 PM #

    “In fact there may be more eyeballs watching ECU football than WVU.”

    No way in Hell. I’ll assume that TV viewership is REALLY what you meant (I don’t believe it, but I’ll assume). The TV viewership of ECU is extremely local. With other “big athletic programs” in the state of North Carolina, the only people who will be watching ECU games aside from alumni are those who live in the lesser populated areas surrounding Greenville. That’s not a lot of eyes. With someone like a WVU, the entire state of West Virginia roots for one school.

    The pull of ECU isn’t that it would add a lot of eyes, it’s that it would make the conference a better conference to watch. Better football means fans are more willing to spend their afternoon watching WRAL or WBTV watching the big game. ECU wouldn’t add a lot of anything in terms of bottom line, but it could raise the image of Big East football which may raise the viewship of every Big East institution’s fanbase.

  19. JasonP 09/20/2011 at 3:44 PM #

    Btw; DC was awful for the tourney. I hope it never goes back. Better ATL or NYC over DC.

    As long as the conference is hq’d in Greensboro, I have to think they’ll have it there at least every 10 years with Charlotte thrown in between.

  20. primacyone 09/20/2011 at 3:55 PM #

    “I’was implying that there will be as many eyeballs watching ECU football on TV as there are watching any other Big East team except maybe WVU”

    I will repeat the above statement again. I believe it to be true.

    I believe ECU is more football valuable than a majority of the schools left in the Big East.

  21. old13 09/20/2011 at 4:03 PM #

    After reading ALL of Boeheim’s comments, I do not think he was putting down the ACC in any way. Most people would rather vacation in NY City than Greensboro NC any day – and I think that is all he was saying about that. I think he is very frustrated about “superconferences” driven by FB and what Syracuse moving to the ACC does to Syracuse rivalries that have existed for decades. Think about it. If the shoe was on the other foot and it was the ACC that was crumbling, wouldn’t we be upset if we had to go to another conference and not have our annual games with the traditional ACC schools we have played for 50-100+ years – I would!

  22. HPWolf 09/20/2011 at 4:04 PM #

    Our old ACC high academics conference is over. If Swofford has a chance to add some football heavyweights he has to do it. A Texas or Notre Dame addition changes everything. Both could potentially make us the most exciting basketball and football conference in the nation. I wonder what ESPN would say to that.

  23. 61Packer 09/20/2011 at 4:08 PM #

    The remaining Big East schools are Louisville, Rutgers, Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati and West Virginia. I’d put ECU football on par with maybe Cincy and Rutgers. Clearly Louisville and WVU are better, and probably USF and UConn as well since they upgraded.

    My guess is that if OU goes west, the Big XII and Big East will merge, but ECU will not be invited. Some Conference USA teams might, mainly Houston, SMU, Tulsa, and maybe Memphis, but I don’t see the Pirates winning anything in this mess.

    The Pirates may be one of the biggest losers when this settles.

  24. LRM 09/20/2011 at 4:29 PM #

    “I was also staying that it is going to really, really suck when ECU makes the BCS bowl game, with even more eyeballs watching, and we make a chit bowl.

    Which BCS conference will ECU be in? The new Big East/XII won’t likely have an automatic bid anymore.

  25. primacyone 09/20/2011 at 4:39 PM #

    ^I think they will have an auto bid and they will still be a BCS conference.

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