BREAKING: ACC presidents extend invitations to Cal, Stanford, SMU
The California Golden Bears will be surviving in the madness of super conference acceleration, with some hard choices likely coming.
In a straw poll more than three weeks ago, four ACC schools dissented -- Clemson, Florida State North Carolina and N.C. State. One of them needed to flip if the vote was to pass, and all eyes entered the meeting on N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson.
The focus on Woodson intensified on Thursday night when members of the University of North Carolina's Board of Trustees issued a statement to voice their objection to the additions. That move was perceived around the ACC as a political statement to be sure that UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz didn't flip his vote.
As discussed earlier, Cal and Stanford are reportedly coming in on reduced revenue shares. The ACC media deal has a pro rata clause, allowing the conference to earn about $24 million per member. Cal and Stanford have agreed to each take about 30%, which is an estimated $7-10 million.
SMU had to go further, foregoing revenue payouts for years.
The rest will be distributed back to other ACC members, potentially based on performance-incentive clauses. These concessions are probably what was needed to get “no” votes like Florida State, Clemson and the North Carolina schools to flip and accept Cal, Stanford and SMU.
The changes likely aren’t done. With their most important source of revenue vanishing in the coming years, Cal and Stanford will have to significantly raise their fundraising to offset the costs, appease many donors with the changing landscape, and likely deal with the recruiting costs of teams that will be travelling cross-country constantly every fall and winter.
And then we have to address the likely downsizing of Cal Athletics. With no high-level television deal coming, it’ll be very difficult to support and sustain 30 sports, even if Cal were to surpass all donor giving goals. Consolidation is likely coming and some difficult discussions lie ahead.
But in the big game of college athletics, Cal survives. After the weeks of terrible news, that’s the best you can hope for.