Florida State and Clemson are among seven ACC schools examining the conference’s grant of rights agreement amid concerns over the league’s projected financial standing compared to other Power Five conferences, according to multiple reports. ACC spring meetings take place this week in Florida, marking the first time conference administrators have met collectively since Florida State athletic director Michael Alford, in February, to the league’s equal revenue sharing amid concerns of FSU’s ability to hold weight financially with Big Ten and SEC schools in wake of lucrative new media rights deals.
Action Network and Sports Illustrated are reporting Florida State, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Virginia Tech as the seven schools that have met with legal teams in recent months to examine the league’s grant of rights. The ACC’s exclusive media rights deal with ESPN runs through 2036, several years after the conclusion of the deals that soon begin for the SEC and Big Ten. The SEC enters a 10-year media rights deal with ESPN worth $3 billion in 2024, while the Big Ten enters with NBC, CBS and FOX worth more than $7 billion in total value beginning this season.
Alford, speaking to the FSU board of trustees in February, voiced fears of FSU falling $30 million behind SEC and Big Ten schools annually in calling for the ACC to rethink its revenue sharing approach. The athletic directors at Clemson, Miami and North Carolina later echoed Alford’s concerns as college athletics continues to be rattled by realignment. A pair of historic rivals will be on the move to new homes in 2024 as Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12 for the SEC while USC and UCLA exit the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.
“We have to do something because we’re a brand. We’re a very important brand, and we drive the media value in this conference,” Alford said during the February meeting, streamed on YouTube.
More “frank” discussions surrounding the revenue gap are expected to be held during ACC spring meetings, according to Sports Illustrated. But for any speculation — and it’s merely that at this point — of movement from ACC schools, there are several hurdles potential defectors would have to clear. The exit fee for ACC schools is a reported $120 million, and when it comes to breaking the grant of rights, Sports Illustrated reports most attorneys…