Cal and Stanford reportedly falling one vote short of an ACC invite
Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina and NC State are reportedly the holdouts for expanding the ACC to include the California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinal.
The California Golden Bears are one vote short of inclusion into the ACC, as 12 of 15 members need to vote affirmatively. At the moment, Cal is locked at 11, falling one short of the dozen needed to find a new home in a conference.
Pat Forde and Richard Johnson of Sports Illustrated reported the Florida State Seminoles, Clemson Tigers, North Carolina Tar Heels, and NC State Wolfpack are the four no votes for inviting Cal into the ACC. Nicole Auerbach of the Athletic also confirmed this story.
Programs in heavy favor include Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and Louisville.
Florida State and Clemson are voting no for an obvious reason—the two have voiced the most discontent with the current state of the ACC, and are exploring every avenue to break the Grant of Rights (designed to bind conference members through 2036) and join the SEC or the Big Ten. At the moment the penalty fees amount to hundreds of millions of dollars for each program, so it’s not likely to happen unless third parties step in and foot the bill.
The path to leaving becomes harder if Cal and Stanford join. You’d have to imagine the two programs would want to preserve the ACC for as long as possible to hold stable their foundation until they can better regroup for the next phase of realignment. So that’d be two more votes against dissolving the Grant of Rights, particularly if both Cal and Stanford join at the pro rata rate reportedly offered.
Clemson and Florida State would want to preserve their flexibility, and likely extract leverage. More matchups with Notre Dame?
North Carolina and NC State are a bit more curious. The two usually vote together, so it’s no big surprise that they are voting similarly. But why they are voting no is a bit more of a mystery. There has been speculation that North Carolina is on a similar trajectory as Clemson and Florida State and will find a home in a major conference mostly because of their basketball blue blood status (although they have had recent investment and success into college football).
Or maybe it’s just our ancient nemesis Mack Brown conjuring spirits to draw more blood out of California. Anything’s on the table.
There are other options (Preserving the Pac-4 and rebuilding it from scratch, accepting the open invites from the AAC or MWC, independence, hoping for a Big Ten Hail Mary, swallowing pride and looking at the Big 12), but at the moment the ACC seems like the closest one to bearing fruition.
One vote away from a brief respite in realignment wars. Can Cal find safe harbor?