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The Bill For ACC Actions Taken In 2016 Has Now Come Due In 2023

You might be surprised to learn that I have in fact been wrong before. It tends to happen a lot, unfortunately.

But after seeing Brett McMurphy and Ross Dellenger’s reporting on dissension within the ACC’s member schools, I think I nailed this one squarely on the head — the ACC is sinking into the oceanic abyss of college athletics.

Dellenger, one of the most clued-in reporters in all of sports media, informed all of us on Monday that seven ACC schools — revealed by McMurphy to be Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech — have met with teams of lawyers multiple times in recent months, examining the ACC’s Grant of Rights deal, which extends through 2036.

I’m not the only one to have seen this iceberg coming from a mile away. Anyone paying attention sees what lay ahead— the ACC is falling further and further behind their conference colleagues and the Grant of Rights severely impacts the schools’ abilities to keep pace with their competitive counterparts.

Unsurprisingly, a four-hour meeting Monday between ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips and ACC athletic directors ended in radio silence.

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So Now The ACC's Bold Plan Is To Hire Consultants?

I will admit, I have not been impressed with new ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips since hearing his comments at ACC Media Days last month.

Work in Corporate America long enough and you’ll see certain types of people in charge. Some are leaders, ready to charge the next hill and find a way to get their company to the top. Some are dreamers, not necessarily being all that interested in all the numbers on the profit and loss statement, but always asking “why can’t WE do that?” and pushing the envelope at every turn.

Then there are some that just want to be the person in charge. Many get there because of longevity, as someone left and it was “their turn.” They generally make sure the lights are on and the doors are open, and they serve as an ambassador for their business at meetings with customers and the community, but they don’t really add a lot. If there’s a problem, they talk in terms of studying the problem, maybe even appointing a committee to figure it out.

That’s the vibe Phillips gave off when asked what the ACC would do in the face of the Big Ten poaching UCLA and USC from the PAC-12. He spoke in analytical verbiage, all but said everything was fine, and that the ACC would not be left behind.

About the only thing Phillips didn’t do that day was say the ACC would hire consultants to make sure everything turned out fine.

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A Question For The ACC Commissioner: What's The Plan, Jim?

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.

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ACC Notebook: Coaches Are Already On The Hot Seat...

We’re two weeks through Virginia Tech’s 2021 season, a lot has happened already, and the same goes for the rest of the ACC, which has seen its fair share of ups and downs since the start of the season.

Through two weeks, here are the ACC storylines that I’m paying attention to:

New coach, Same Issues At Florida State

The Seminole faithful can Swag Surf all they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that the ‘Noles lost on a walk-off touchdown pass to FCS Jacksonville State this past weekend.

It was an unexplicable defensive call, as Florida State’s defense lined up with a one-on-one matchup on the outside with six seconds on the clock. Down 17-14, Jacksonville State completed a desperation throw and scampered into the endzone to send Florida State fans home dumbfounded.

To Mike Norvell’s credit, he understands that the loss is unacceptable. It still happened, however, and people in Tallahassee aren’t happy. After a dismal 3-6 record in 2020, the ‘Noles are 0-2 to start Norvell’s second season.

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Two Numbers To Consider: $32.4 Million, and $1.3 Billion

Back in my corporate days, we used to invite key members of the sales force to product development meetings and ask for their feedback on what they thought we needed to add to our product line.

Dozens of ideas about product other competitors had would be offered. I was the “no fun” guy at times who would ask specifically why we needed to have a version of that product, wanting to know was it their best-seller? How many floors in your territory was it on? How much volume do you think we’d do with such a group? Whose product would we knock off retail floors to make room for this new addition?

In many cases the answer was they didn’t know. They just liked how the product looked and wanted something like that in our lineup. I would then say it’d be a shame for us to go through all the expense of developing a new group, only to find out that while visually appealing, it didn’t really sell well for the competition, and thus probably wouldn’t be making any money for us either. So get me more data or the answer was no.

Then they’d call me names 😊

My point in saying this is because after reading a bunch of stories and opinions about who the Atlantic Coast should consider adding, now that Texas and Oklahoma have launched the opening salvo in another round of conference wars, is that most fans and pundits sound just like those product development meetings. They suggest and want every shiny bauble that might be out there, with little to no regard to the bottom line.

The magic number I’ve seen that should be the basis of any suggestion is this one: $32.4 million. That’s the revenue split each team got in the most recent sharing of the pot of gold the league passed out from television and revenue sharing agreements. It doesn’t mean each team brought in that much – I’m sure Clemson brought in a lot more, and teams like Boston College brought in a lot less – but that was the average.

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Ricky LaBlue

Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

Stephen Newman

Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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