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The 4 Main Consequences Of The ACC's Grant Of Media Rights Deal, Pertaining To Conference Realignment

Is the conference safe now?

This morning, David Glenn of reported that all of the ACC's 15 members reached an agreement on a grant of media rights until 2027.

What does that actually mean? Basically, any school which wants to leave the ACC will not be able bring over any TV money to its new conference - until 2027. It removes the incentive for a school to leave - it would be forfeiting all television dollars for a period of years.

What are the consequences of the deal, as it pertains to conference realignment?

1. ACC schools are committing themselves to the conference, and won't bolt

This seems pretty obvious, but it's worth repeating given the instability of the college athletics landscape over the past decade. There is really no longer an incentive for an ACC team to leave for another conference; remember, all of this is about money. And guess what...

2. The Big Ten is probably stuck at 14 schools for a long time

The B1G recently added both Rutgers and Maryland, grabbing two more media markets it thought it needed to continue its world domination. There were rumors of some combination of UVA, Georgia Tech and UNC moving to the conference next, but nothing ever materialized. Obviously, that can't happen now. If the ACC isn't open for poaching, where does the Big Ten turn? The Big 12 has a similar grant of media rights deal, as does the Pac-12. So unless it wants to take a shot at some SEC teams (the only major conference which doesn't have one of these, yet), it may be stuck at 14 schools. 

Of course, it could take a look at UConn and Cincinnati. But it'd be highly unlikely that the heavyweights of the conference would be in favor of splitting profits with either of those schools - they just don't bring enough to the table.

3. The Big 12 is probably stuck at 10 schools for a long time

The rumors about Florida State and another school (Clemson was tossed around a great deal) bolting for the Big 12 should now end as well. Just as was the case with the Big Ten, it was always presumed that if the Big 12 were to expand, it would be looking east. 

Could the conference add schools like SMU and Houston? Sure. But getting to 12 teams isn't a necessity, and any additions further split the pot for existing members. Getting FSU and Clemson would have been a much, much different situation.

4. UConn and Cincinnati should get used to life in the AAC

The big losers today are the Huskies and the Bearcats. Both schools have made it known that they'd prefer to be in a power conference, and the fact that this deal halts the domino effect is bad news. 

If schools like UNC and Georgia Tech were to leave for the Big Ten, the ACC might have looked to replace them. After all, that's how Louisville got itself off the sinking Big East ship - the Cardinals replaced Maryland. With no major conferences left for poaching (save the SEC, which won't happen), there should be a lack of movement in conference realignment for quite some time.