Cal, Stanford, SMU, ACC talks heat up; Big 12 loses interest in Pac-4, MWC merger stalls
The California Golden Bears seem to have one major option at the moment, even if it's a wild one.
At the moment, Cal fans remain twisting in the wind, waiting for news on their fate as the Pac-12 expires underneath them.
The one clear and present rumor standing above all the rest is the ACC is moving full speed ahead on trying to make Cal and Stanford work. Discussions are ongoing according to Pete Thamel of ESPN:
The ACC presidents met Tuesday morning about the potential addition of Stanford and Cal but did not vote on the matter, sources told ESPN. Instead, the league will continue to explore the additions and is "still evaluating" the schools, sources said.
No decisions are expected imminently, as another call of the athletic directors just to further dig into the finances is expected in the near future. A timeline is fluid, according to sources, but it would be surprising if a decision either way was reached this week.
However there is still a lot of trepidation within the conference, particularly from football powerhouses Florida State and Clemson, who are already fairly disgruntled with the current state of things. Many ACC members are currently unhappy with the state of the conference according to Thamel, making a Cal and Stanford union all the more precarious:
The potential of programs leaving has the more entrenched schools within the league pondering what the next iteration of the ACC could look like, making unanimity nearly impossible to reach within the room. For the ACC to vote in Cal and Stanford -- if a vote ever arises -- it would require three-fourths of the league's presidents/chancellors to approve, which means 12 of the 15 schools.
If Florida State and Clemson are not on board, Cal and Stanford would have to be welcomed by virtually the rest of the conference.
At a meeting of league presidents on Tuesday, executives explored the possibility of adding all three universities or inviting only the Pac-12’s two members. Administrators are expected to continue examining the expansion options and will review financial models for both scenarios — adding three or adding just two.
Maybe even more important: The university would arrive at a reduced rate. Employing a rich donor base and a healthy desire to advance to the Power Four level, the university is open to forgoing conference distribution pay for its first several years in a new league. SMU officials held similar conversations with Pac-12 administrators.
Revenue splits could be a key element of Cal and Stanford ACC discussion. Although pro rata rates are in place for new members, due to the very heavy travel costs that would be involved with those two, it’ll be unlikely they can keep up the current number of around $40 million per year per member at a pro rata rate. It’s quite possible that in the negotiations, Cal and Stanford would have to take on a reduced rate. More from Dellenger:
A perk of the ESPN contract: The network is required to increase its base distribution to the conference in a way that pays each new member the same annual rate as others — what’s termed as a “pro-rata.”
However, financial complications go much deeper. To offset the additional travel costs of acquiring Stanford, Cal and/or SMU, current ACC members will need additional revenue from the network, or Stanford and Cal would have to agree to enter the league for a partial share — conversations of which are ongoing.
While there isn’t much there, it seems as if the Regents have gone ahead and given the go-ahead from Chancellor Christ to explore moving to a conference that will maximize their opportunities.
It seems like all Big 12 expansion efforts have come to an end, as the conference seems to have declined interest in adding any other schools. Brett McMurphy has more.
Big 12 has “no appetite” to add any of Pac-4 schools or San Diego State, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. “We have no interest in doing anything,” source said. “We’re done.”
There was a pitch led by San Diego State to make a Mountain West alliance with the remainder of the Pac-4 happen, but it seems to also have come apart, according to CBS Sports:
SDSU president Adela de la Torre was leading a push to assemble what would have amounted to a breakaway of the best schools from the Mountain West and American conferences along with some combination of Pac-12 leftovers California, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State, sources said.
However, the idea died after Monday night after Mountain West presidents held a call that ended with the leadership showing unity.
In UC updates, the UC Regents had a meeting and issued a virtual non-statement.
"The University of California Board of Regents met this morning in a closed special meeting for the purpose of being briefed by UC President Michael Drake and UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ about the recent events with the Pac 12 and the campus’s options going forward. The Regents expressed their concern for the impact on Cal’s student athletes, underscored support for the academic mission of the campus, and also offered Chancellor Christ full support as she and her leadership team pursue their options in the quickly evolving landscape of intercollegiate athletics.
There hasn’t been much word from the Big Ten yet, so you’d have to guess the ACC is the first option for the Bears among all the potentials.
What are your thoughts on Cal in the ACC?