As the esteemed owner and editor of Dulles District will attest, if you’re not getting better at something then you are getting worse.
It’s applicable in all areas of life. If Juan Soto doesn’t continue to get better as a hitter, he’ll eventually be surpassed by his peers and watch others slug their way to a Home Run Derby title. If Dave doesn’t continue getting creative in the kitchen with his signature cooking skills, I’ll eventually catch up to him.
But for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the plan seems to be to stand pat while the rest of the Power 5 aims at getting better. And you know what that means.
The ACC is getting worse.
Rather than lay out a vision for the ACC to solidify its future as one of the premier athletic conferences in America, newly minted commissioner Jim Phillips seemed to simply point at the ACC’s Grant of Rights and say, “we’re fine.”
Sure, on paper, the Grant of Rights, which binds member schools’ media rights to the ACC through 2036, would seem to lock each school into the ACC for the foreseeable future. But as Phillips himself noted at ACC Kickoff earlier this week, that doesn’t mean much when many of the folks at the table had nothing to do with the creation of the document.
“Just like I wasn’t the commissioner at the time when that was signed, we have a lot of presidents and general counsels that weren’t part of the league at that time,” Phillips told The Athletic.
Phillips knows better than most that documents are only as strong as those defending them in court. And a lawsuit challenging the ACC’s Grant of Rights would be as messy as any lawsuit in the history of the sport.
Regardless, this is Phillips’ plan to hold the conference together. At least, the plan that he’ll reveal publicly. There’s been no talk or rumor of expansion for the conference — only rumors surmising the exact opposite, which is that some of the ACC’s biggest names could be served up to the SEC and Big Ten in future expansion cycles.
The single scariest fact of this round of college football realignment is that the financial gap that already exists between the SEC and the Big Ten, and the rest of the country, is only getting larger. Virginia Tech doesn’t want to participate in a rigged game where most of their non-conference competitors will be receiving upwards of $70 million more than them each year in media rights revenue.
However, judging Phillips’ words and actions thus far, things seem to be fine. But we all know that life is rarely what it seems. It may seem like my culinary skills will never reach the heights of Mr. Scarangella, but they will one day.
When that day comes, I sure hope that the ACC is still around to see it. The way things are going right now, that would be quite the surprise.
I don't know what the future holds for the ACC in this era of the rich getting richer, but I do know all this talk of cooking is making me hungry.