John Swofford knew the ACC was in trouble. He knew the ACC’s new television deal with ESPN placed the conference far behind the big four in terms of revenue and prestige and he knew his best football programs had wandering eyes and lust for SEC-like paydays.
Swofford had to be nervous. He had to be worried, but he’s John Swofford – the original architect of conference expansion, the master poacher who pulled off the addition of basketball powers Pittsburgh and Syracuse with nary a credible leak; and he had a plan to secure his legacy and hold the ACC together – more expansion.
Swofford knew the ACC’s problem could be solved with more cash and the only way the ACC could wrangle more dollars out of ESPN was to grow the ACC to 16.
Swofford reasoned that by adding two more to the ACC’s ranks he could go back to ESPN and renegotiate the television contract to accommodate the new members.
The only trouble was schools that would add the value needed to bring the ACC on par with the Big 12’s pending television deal are few and far between.
The obvious choice was Notre Dame. The Irish, despite not making much of a splash in the last 20 years, have the prestige to add the big dollars necessary to save the ACC.
Credible, but unconfirmed, reports suggest Swofford had been in talks with Notre Dame and was willing to give the Irish almost anything they wanted to lure them into the conference. Notre Dame was willing to listen but reluctant to make any commitment before the BCS playoff formula is known.
The Irish value their independence and their television revenues. Conventional wisdom said the only way the Irish join a conference as a football member is if the new BCS formula forces them to join.
That scenario doesn’t seem likely to happen and with reports sufacing this morning that Notre Dame is close to signing a deal with NBC/Comcast to extend their television contract it seems more and more likely the Irish will stay independent.
If Notre Dame was to be the savior of the ACC what does John Swofford do now?
One thing he doesn’t do is give up. Swofford has reached out to other high-value teams in the Big 12 and SEC but every one of those schools declined.
The question is what does Swofford do now?
Jim Lamar takes an exhaustive look at FSU’s ACC revenues. Lamar’s story can be read online at http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20120612/FSU03/120612002/FSU-s-take-from-ACC-2011-12-16-85-million?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|frontpage&nclick_check=1
One interesting fact in Lamar’s article is the notation that:
"The ACC also distributed $167,400.58 from its reserves to each school."
I’m wondering how often that disbursement occurs or if it was a special attempt to inflate the monetary disbursement the ACC handed out.
I’m also wondering how the Big 12 stacks up against the ACC in terms disbursements item by item.
Don’t expect to learn anything from the Clemson Board of Trustee’s teleconference tonight other than Dabo is against the move.
I continue to say the ACC could put a fork in all the speculation on FSU and Clemson by simply releasing details of their new TV contract. If the TV contract starts out at $13 or $14 million and takes 9 years to reach a $17 million payout we may have a smoking gun to explain once and for all why ACC schools are reaching out to other conferences.
The ACC has done a poor job of public relations. Sure they’ve had a few journalists preach the party line but they fail to understand that perception is reality. Sometimes perception is really reality -- one case in point is the attempt to rebrand the ACC as a football oriented conference.
Take a look at the chart below:
|School||5 Y W-L||10 Y W-L||BCS||Football Grade|
I after compiling that simple chart I understand now why Pittsburgh was considered a football addition by many in the ACC. It's not that Pittsburgh has been good, it's that ACC football has been terrible.
Look at the W-L for a 5 and 10 year period and tell me the ACC is football centric conference with a straight face.
WVU was added as a comparison.
WVU was added as a comparison.
I'm going to be away for the next four days with little or no access. My silence is not backtracking or hiding..