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How Notre Dame to ACC Deal Impacts the Future of SEC's Expansion

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 31:  Mario Carter #87 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack pulls in this reception against Herman Lathers #34 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Georgia Dome on August 31, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 13, 2012

Wednesday was a landmark day in the history of the ACC.

The conference that was once considered on life support added Notre Dame in all conference-sponsored sports other than football and agreed to five out-of-conference games with the Irish in football every season.

While the new conference affiliation made headlines, news broke that the ACC also upped its exit fee to a whopping $50 million, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

I guess that means that Clemson and Florida State will think twice—or nine times—about considering a jump to the Big 12.

But what does it mean for possible SEC expansion in the future?

The purpose of conference expansion is to move the conference into media markets in which it doesn't exist. The addition of Texas A&M and Missouri added four of the top 31 media markets in the country, according to Nielsen.

That may not seem like a big deal now, but it will be if and when the SEC's cable network hits the air and providers in those markets pick it up.

It's for that very reason that the SEC should pursue Virginia Tech and N.C. State whenever the next round of expansion starts.

Virginia Tech would get the SEC Network on carriers in the entire state of Virginia and the District of Columbia, while N.C. State would get the SEC in market No. 24 (Raleigh-Durham) and No. 25 (Charlotte).

But that $50 million exit fee changes things.

Missouri and Texas A&M each paid $12.41 million to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, according to ESPN.com. It was supposed to be $30 million, but lawyers got that figure knocked down.

The landscape of college football has certainly changed since then, and will continue to do so every offseason. Some of that change will include the SEC's cable network, which will increase revenues and thus elevate the dollar figures that decision-makers must take into account.

For that reason, it's hard to say how much of an impact that the ACC's new exit fee will have on future SEC expansion, but it certainly looks less likely that an ACC team will jump ship today than it did on Monday.

Before, the ACC was ripe for the picking. Nothing—not even the political pressure that helped Virginia Tech get into the ACC in the first place—would have prevented ACC teams from jumping ship.

Now there are 50 million reasons.

 

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