The latest round of college football musical chairs may be on hold for a while following a couple of developments on Monday—not bad news by any means for the ACC at this point.
Pete Thamel reported yesterday that talks about a potential partnership between the Big 12 and Pac-12 have ended, and while this doesn’t necessarily preclude some Pac-12 schools from flipping leagues, such a move also doesn’t appear to make a lot of financial sense. At minimum, those schools might as well wait to see how the Pac-12’s latest television negotiations pan out.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, does not appear anxious to join a conference in the near future. The Irish are hoping to receive $75 million annually from NBC in their next television deal, which at least temporarily would put Notre Dame ahead of every Big Ten and SEC school (not to mention everybody else) in annual payouts.
As long as Notre Dame stands pat, the Big Ten and SEC appear likely to do the same. That’s the most positive development for the ACC. One way or another, the ACC’s fate is probably tied to what the Irish do. If they eventually opt to join a league, another major shift in alignment is virtually assured, which probably results in the breakup of the ACC. If Notre Dame stays independent, then maybe the ACC can breathe for a while.
There is also this, regarding the ACC’s lengthy grant of rights agreement:
One of the few things uniting the Power 2 leagues right now is that neither wants anything to do with the legal untangling that would come with breaking a grant of rights. The unofficial posture of both leagues, if they ever were to take an ACC school in the near future, would be — well, you figure all that out. Then come approach us.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey confirmed that stance in remarks yesterday.