ACC mailbag: Ramifications of potential Clemson, FSU departure, plus North Carolina politics

Welcome to part two of our ACC mailbag with Brendan Marks, Grace Raynor and Manny Navarro.

Thanks for all the great questions. We tried to stick to actual football in the first part, Who ran Friday. Today, we’ve mostly focused on the off-field issues that dominate the conversation.

What happens to the ACC if both FSU and… Clemson Will they announce this summer that they will be leaving the conference effective June 30, 2025? – Todd K.

Before we dive into all these questions about departures and reorganization, let’s get Chris Vannini’s questions straight ACC vs. FSU and Clemson story Required background reading.

I believe the official date for Clemson and the NFL to inform the ACC of their intended departure for the 2025 season will be August 15th. So, that means we’ll have some form of decision in court as to whether rights are granted through next (it’s not likely to impact conferences across college football and not just the ACC) or the schools and league settle out of court on exit fees (on most likely). If it’s the latter, and FSU and Clemson part ways, ESPN would smartly decide in February not to receive its ACC TV package until 2036. That would send the ACC into the Pac-12, forcing it to sign a cheaper TV deal after 2027. (Without The two big stars) or the league dissolves outright as some may end up fleeing to the Big 12 or forming a new league.


Go deeper

ACC v. Florida State and Clemson: Untangling the Reorganization Conflict in Court

I think there will be a group of ACC schools that won’t make it into the SEC or Big Ten (or Big 12, which could end up being the winner here if it takes on some of the coveted ACC teams) that will want to stick together in some form and get a cheaper TV deal To remain in the “intermediate specialties”. We can sit here and debate what these schools are — and feel some hurt feelings — or you can simply look at the TV ratings and TV markets of the past few years and put the two together. Either way, not everyone gets an invite to the Big 2 or Super League. If FSU or Clemson had to spend a few years in purgatory (Big 12) to get to the SEC or Big Ten, they would do so to get rid of having to stay in the ACC until 2036.

I don’t think we’ll see a 24-team Big Ten or a 24-team SEC in the future. Remember, the SEC’s television deal with ESPN runs through 2033-34, while the Big Ten’s deal with CBS, NBC and Fox runs through 2029-30. There is no incentive for schools in those leagues to add any other schools when they have such a huge financial advantage in college football – unless they are vying to sign top “free agent” schools like FSU and Clemson or another school (like North Carolina State) that they value. . This essentially leaves other ACC programs behind to figure out a solution to remain relevant and fund their athletic programs in some capacity. That’s why the ACC will not fold completely. She had to have learned something through the Pac-12’s mistakes. — Navarro

How North Carolina Politics Plays a Role in Realigning Conferences with UNC and North Carolina State? Does this prevent these two schools from being separated or do they just need a landing spot if one or both schools decide to leave the ACC? – Isaiah N.

The short answer: it’s complicated. Essentially, the North Carolina legislature saw what happened in California two summers ago — when University of California He abruptly left the Pac-12 for the Big Ten and state leaders appeared shocked — “We don’t let something like this happen,” he said.

So, in April, the UNC Board of Governors — which oversees the North Carolina system that includes NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill — passed a policy change; Public universities must now notify the system president of any desire to change conferences before doing so, including submitting a financial plan for the move. The system head can either approve or veto the plan. If the president rejects it, the president of the proposed university must come up with a new plan. Even if approved by the head of the system, the plan goes to the larger government bank for a vote… and if the plan fails to get the necessary approval there, it will be canceled anyway.

In fact, the new policy makes it difficult for any school in the UNC system to change conferences. But more importantly, it doesn’t explicitly mention anything about the Wolfpack Tar heel Stay in the same conference.

But that doesn’t mean that this idea has gone out of my mind. Last year, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) told reporters, “The Carolinas and the state have to be in the same caucus…and I think you’re going to face a lot of resistance if they split into different caucuses.” . (Moore is a 1992 graduate of North Carolina State.) The problem is that in terms of realignment, North Carolina State — with its national brand, men’s basketball prowess and lofty academic reputation — is widely viewed as a more valuable addition than State North Carolina. In fact, some industry experts believe North Carolina is the ACC’s only remaining value-added brand to the SEC or Big Ten since (unlike Florida State and Clemson) resides in a state in which it does not currently have membership. So, if North Carolina gets poached by either major leaguer, where does that leave NC State? Where does that leave the rivalry between these two schools? At a larger level, where does this leave the ACC?

All of this is a long way of saying that a lot of powerful people in the state don’t want to see UNC and NC State split. Case in point: This week, another bill was introduced in the state legislature that would require NC State and NC State to:

1. Play at least one of East Carolina, Charlotte and Appalachian State each year and play all three at home and away within a six-year period.
2. Play with each other at home or outside every year.

It is too early to know now what, if any, support this bill has. But it’s clear from the Legislature’s sweeping moves to this point that keeping the two contenders together is a priority in any way possible. — Marx

If you were appointed ACC President today and were also given a time machine, what would you go back and change to improve the conference in 2024? How will the ACC compete with other conferences once it is finished? – Ethan D.

Besides being forced Notre Dame To join the ACC — which we all know was never going to happen because the ACC needs Notre Dame much more than the Irish need the ACC — I think I would have done everything in my power to convince the conference to change its tune and accept that that had to be its future. in soccer.

The ACC is a great basketball conference, as we all know. But football is a money maker. Starting in 2005, for example, I would hold one-on-one meetings with every coach, president and athletic director in the ACC and convince them that football recruiting would become the most important area they had to invest in over the next decade. I would tell them that the word on the street was that the pesky SEC down the block had gotten so involved in the recruiting process that the bells and whistles were a bit ridiculous, but ACC teams have to do the same. They will need to invest more in their football staff. Hire more people. Build their own recruitment and evaluation departments. Enhance their facilities. Place a slide and barber shop in the building. Learn teen language better than ever, so 16 year olds can communicate with them.

Clemson and Florida State will listen, and it will pay off in the 2000s. But I implore the rest of the league to do the same and make it their mission to prove that the ACC isn’t just a one-dimensional league. I implore them to pay attention to every move the SEC makes. — Raynor

Which ACC teams will be part of the Premier League? We will only have 32 teams in three years. – Ursula D.

Clemson, the best football power in the league over the past decade, should be there. Same for Florida State, with its historical and recent success in football. Then there’s North Carolina, which has the most attractive national brand in the ACC and, perhaps more importantly, would give this hypothetical premier league a home in a state where it currently doesn’t exist.

I will just say these three. controversial? maybe. But if FSU and Florida Both already, what incentive would the Premier League have to add a third (private) program from the same state? One that has in no way matched the level of success of the other two in the past two decades? You also have to realize that the SEC and Big Ten contribute 20 to 30 of those teams, so there’s only so much cap space. — Marx

How many ACC teams make the CFP this year? How excited are you about the new qualifying format? – Brett W.

I initially needed a little convincing that the College Football Playoff was worth expanding, but after Florida State was robbed last season, I’m thrilled to see more teams have a chance — even if I think the same few will still win it. As for who in the ACC could make the field this year, I’m picking the two teams most likely to compete for a league title: Clemson and Florida State. We could be in a good place if Clemson’s quarterback Kid Klubnik The former Clemson and now NFL quarterback DJ Yagalili Hit their stride.

Manny, on the other hand, had a more ambiguous answer when I polled our group.

“Will become Miami “And FSU,” he said. “In the last year of the ACC as we know it. Book it. Finally.” — Raynor

Is there a competitive advantage to Clemson’s approach to the portal? I compare the tigers to Colorado. The latter is a revolving door where men are always on the hot seat. Clemson can say, ‘Come here and we’ll develop you. You don’t have to look over your shoulder. Put in your reps and you’ll get your shots.’ I have to imagine that appeals to a lot of kids especially the types of kids Clemson recruits. -Hunter W.

Excellent points, Hunter. Clemson should help its recruiting efforts to say to its high school football players: “We want you, not transfers. Come here, and you won’t lose your spot to an older player.” But it’s completely unsustainable for Clemson to remain a non-player in the transfer portal and still compete for national championships. It’s like NBA, NFL or MLB The team declares, “We will use the draft solely to supplement our rosters and allow players once they reach their fourth or fifth season to walk into free agency.”

Every championship team needs veteran players, and in college football, if you’re an elite player, you’re usually gone after your third year anyway. Dabo Swinney’s approach worked in the pre-gateway era when free agency wasn’t rampant. Not anymore. You can’t replace a talented third or fourth year player with a freshman and expect the freshman to play like a junior or senior. Especially when you’re still losing players to the portal and the draft. There are a lot of holes that need to be filled. — Navarro

In the next few years, assuming FSU and Clemson find a way to leave, how likely is it that there will be an ACC West Division with Cal? Stanford, Oregon, Washington stateand maybe a Texas school like rice or UTSA? —Michael H.

Wait, I like this idea. I don’t know how likely that is, but I’m not sure anything in college football can surprise me anymore. Oregon State and Washington State need somewhere to land anyway, and if Clemson and Florida bounce back, the ACC should tend to be quite upset. Give me Pac-12 after-dark vibes, but every hour of every day. — Raynor

(North Carolina vs. NC State and Clemson vs. Florida State Photos: Lance King, John Byrom/Ikon Sportswire/Getty Images)

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