So, the undesirable inevitable grew to become official within the early hours of Friday morning when 12 out of 15 Atlantic Coast Convention presidents and chancellors determined to panic-add Cal, SMU and Stanford beginning in July of 2024. It was North Carolina State chancellor Randy Woodson who flipped on his preliminary standing (Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina remained firmly opposed), giving option to overstuff the ACC with three faculties which have little enterprise being on this convention.
As I attempt to wrap my head round one other turgid 18-team mega-league (17 in soccer, the place in fact Notre Dame stays impartial), it is now simply dawning on me that issues like “Syracuse @ Cal” and “Stanford @ Boston Faculty” are eligible to be convention video games beginning subsequent 12 months. My god, it is so hideous it is hilarious. What the hell are we doing right here, of us.
Let it’s screamed that this resolution is not going to age nicely. We’ll search for on the finish of this decade and discover nearly all of these realignment maneuvers from the previous 26 months is not going to make school sports activities higher. The ACC’s cheesy trio might high the record. Certain, there will likely be perks and a few enjoyable matchups that materialize within the too-big-to-flop Large Ten, SEC and Large 12, however main school athletics is not evolving right into a superior version of itself. The plot has been misplaced in hopes that cash will be capable of write a greater future. It nearly definitely is not going to.
That is being carried out in 2023 in a chase for tv capital allegedly ready within the 2030s. However let’s face the elephant: No person within the TV trade can converse with readability, conviction or clairvoyance about what the media-rights panorama will appear like 5 years from now, not to mention 10 or extra. The ACC’s deal ends in 2036. NOBODY KNOWS. ACC management is attaching itself to Cal, Stanford and SMU in hopes that this may hold them afloat in an ever-increasing race for cash — with no assurances that school sports activities’ cash will proceed to exponentially develop in a cord-cutting world.
It is darkly comical that on the identical day that the ACC voted to do that, tens of tens of millions of households that subscribe to Spectrum’s cable service are unable to look at any Disney-owned channels (ESPN and ABC amongst them) on account of a contract dispute.
The three new ACC faculties are so determined to avoid wasting themselves, they’ve agreed to important haircuts on convention income by way of the top of the last decade — taking considerably much less now than the figures they had been promised however handed on beforehand. SMU is eagerly becoming a member of the ACC and has signed off on going the subsequent NINE YEARS with out getting any TV income share.
You may really feel the monkey’s paw beginning to curl.
Nonetheless, that is the ACC’s association for the foreseeable future. It is nearly definitely going to be worse off in soccer. In basketball, there is no such thing as a query about it: A league that’s coming off perhaps its worst common season in historical past simply diluted its product. Arguably the proudest basketball league of all of them is dropping its footing, whereas the Large 12, Large East and SEC are positioned to thrive. I have never spoken to a single ACC coach who’s in favor of including Calford and SMU, however their opinions do not matter in these issues.
How will basketball be affected? This is an preliminary peek into the longer term.
How convention scheduling might look
If the ACC sticks with 20 league video games, the rotation would have three groups play one another twice and the opposite 14 groups as soon as. This isn’t excellent for establishing a regular-season champion, however that ship is now out to sea. On this template, conventional rivalries can be protected. However as an alternative of getting the likes of Duke-Florida State and UNC-Virginia two instances per season, these would get chopped right down to annually in trade for highway journeys towards Cal, Stanford and SMU.
Conventional rivalries preserved, up to date and/or regional ones get whittled.
In terms of flying throughout the nation to play a convention sport, Cal and Stanford can be a double-dip single journey, in fact. Per commissioner Jim Phillips on a media name Friday, when Cal and Stanford go East for ACC play, these faculties would play two faculties in shut geographic proximity. How SMU matches in with a semi-congruent schedule and the place the geography is smart stays to be decided. Cal, Stanford and SMU would all play one another twice every season. Past that, the closest faculties geographically are Louisville, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech.
The 15 ACC faculties as of now will make two journeys West each 4 years to Stanford and Cal, Phillips mentioned. What days of the week these video games get performed must be found out. Groups will likely be taking a look at a minimal of 4 days away from campus when taking part in highway video games involving Cal, Stanford and SMU.
Right here is the potential template for a 20-game schedule:
- Play 14 opponents 1x
- Play three opponents 2x
- Cal, SMU and Stanford all the time play one another 2x
Cal and Stanford would host the identical eight groups in a season, that means the seven different ACC groups (SMU not included) wouldn’t journey west. Cal and Stanford would play these seven groups on the highway, after which play one jap college twice.
Scheduling would get a deeper twist if the ACC went to 22 video games. So, that begs the query …
Will the ACC go to 22 convention video games?
Let’s hope not, however I can assure you this matter has already been informally explored by ACC officers. Bloating to 18 groups signifies that a 20-game schedule is doable, however 22 brings extra in-league alternatives. You’d have 5 groups play twice and 12 groups play as soon as.
The ACC ought to completely not do it.
Eighteen faculties means somebody has to complete 18th, and seventeenth, and sixteenth. It does not pressure logic to recommend these faculties simply is likely to be Stanford, Cal and SMU. What you do not wish to do is give the league extra alternatives for Quad 3 and 4 video games. These are résumé-saggers and produce down your greatest groups. Having 18 groups ensures you’ll litter your league with outcomes that impede the target of manufacturing as many NCAA Match groups as potential.
The colleges damage most by Friday’s information are those more than likely to be competing for ACC titles — and excessive NCAA Match seeding. Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Miami — you do not wish to saddle these groups with extra video games towards mediocre competitors. Now, it is inevitable.
It might be in the very best curiosity of the ACC to maintain the league at 20 video games, giving these faculties as many alternatives as potential in nonconference play to bolster their match credentials. Therein lies one other consequence: Will Duke, North Carolina and Virginia now need to schedule much more aggressively in November and December? That is a fantastic factor for faculty basketball, but additionally places loads on the ACC’s high applications to win huge early with a view to keep away from being held again nationally if/when the ACC fails to interrupt into the highest three or 4 leagues from a metrics standpoint.
That is one other downstream impact of why convention enlargement worsens the general product.
As for the ACC Match, Phillips mentioned Friday the league is but to debate the format and whether or not or not all 18 groups would play (please no).
“We will be, and assume, aggressive,” Phillips mentioned, and added, “you need to bear in mind the place your private home base is and the place you have had quite a lot of success.”
It was that the ACC might depend on quite a lot of success in hoops, however that is now extra a hope than an expectation. Just some years in the past, it had three No. 1 seeds within the NCAA Match. It is onerous to examine that ever occurring once more. The league was seventh in total energy at KenPom.com final season — the bottom it is ever been. With Stanford, Cal and SMU coming in to crowd the room at 18 — three faculties with 4 complete NCAA Match appearances prior to now 10 seasons — its days of being an elite basketball convention are over.