The past few years have been littered with conference expansions that have eliminated traditional rivalries and completely reworked the college football landscape. If you are a fan of the turmoil, it has been a solid few years, but the fun is ending.
The ACC has announced that it is joining in a Grant of Rights deal (first reported by the David Glenn Show) which would lock the current 14 full members and Notre Dame into the conference until 2026-27. The length of the deal matches the league's contract with ESPN (h/t CBSSports).
BREAKING: Multiple DG sources says ACC will announce unanimous 15 school agreement extending Grant of Media Rights— David Glenn Show (@DavidGlennShow) April 22, 2013
This is a huge move for the league, saving the conference from poaching and departures over the next 15 years. The Big Ten no longer will be able to pull from the ACC as Jon Solomon (via Twitter) points out:
ACC extending Grant of Rights essentially would close the door on Big Ten taking more ACC schools.— Jon Solomon (@jonsol) April 22, 2013
David Teel of the Daily Press broke down the cost of departure for the current ACC members (via Twitter):
So let's do math. If #ACC grant of rights is 15 years, a school leaving the league would forfeit about $300 million.— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) April 22, 2013
A Grant of Media Rights deal forfeits a school's media rights to the conference of its affiliation.
For instance, Florida State gives the ACC ownership of its media rights in exchange for conference membership. The ACC keeps a nationally branded school, and Florida State still receives its revenue. All parties are happy—until they try to break up.
If Florida State were to try and leave the ACC in this instance, they would owe a chunk of change to the ACC if they attempted to buy back their media rights, or they could let the ACC keep the revenue until the agreement ended.
The most interesting discovery in this announcement is that Notre Dame has joined in with the ACC and agreed to the Grant of Rights. The Irish have traditionally been very independent, so this is a huge shift in philosophy for the school.
The ACC isn't the first conference to go this route to ensure member institutions stay put. The Big 12 made this move when it restructured its television deal in 2012 (h/t mysanantonio.com).
It is also interesting to note that the SEC has no such agreement, but what school would willingly leave the most powerful conference in college football?
This is a groundbreaking deal for the conference that will make the ACC a consistent national player over the next decade.