Some good bye week reading today from Andrew Carter and Korie Dean at the N&O about the circumstances surrounding NC State’s decision to ultimately support ACC expansion, which was a change of heart necessary to allow it to move forward.
Randy Woodson has been oddly defensive and totally uninterested in explaining his decision publicly, but as the emails and texts revealed in the story illustrate, there was plenty of lobbying going on, and clearly some of it proved compelling.
The best argument for expansion was articulated by Wake Forest alum Ben Sutton, who founded a successful college sports media company in the 90s. Sutton argued that expanding would allow the league to pad against potential defections, thus preserving its current ESPN payout even if a few schools depart, and also perhaps set it up to poach from the Big 12 the next time that league’s media deal is up.
We still don’t know what specifically moved Woodson to change his mind, but probably nothing mattered more than the favorable financial terms, with SMU coming in and asking for no payout, and Cal/Stanford coming at a discounted rate. If Woodson was able to finagle a deal that eventually gets State into the AAU, then maybe that sealed it. (And maybe that alone makes it worth it as far as he’s concerned.) We may never know!