The ACC has signed a grant of rights agreement. The agreement, lasting through the end of the TV contract in 2026-27, locks the present schools in place. With only Cincinnati and UConn left lonely and made up at the bar, talk of major conference realignment is over, at least in the near future. Further instability could come the following decade, when both the Big 12 and the ACC agreements expire. But, really, who knows what the television revenue model will look like by then?
With the conference stable, a revival in football is not improbable. The ACC had Miami and Florida State nose dive, simultaneously, at the worst possible time for TV negotiations and related conference realignment. There’s too much talent at hand for those two programs not to rise again. Adding Louisville may make a mockery of the ACC’s academic pretensions. But, competitively, it may be the best addition any major conferences made besides the SEC adding Texas A&M. There’s potential for schools such as North Carolina, North Carolina State, UVA and Georgia Tech to function at a higher level.
Should things turn sunnier for the ACC, that low-ball television deal could look like a major coup for ESPN. The ACC could also be in far better position for the next round of negotiations, musical chairs and postseason revenue splits. Whatever happens, the ACC can now set its restaurant menu without trepidation.