There have been a lot of surprising developments to come from conference realignment, to say the least. What's seemed clear throughout it all is that the ACC is lagging behind and fortunate only in the sense that it is not the ever-exploding Big East. The last round of television contract negotiations placed the ACC a clear fifth among the remaining major conferences, and Maryland's departure for the Big Ten did not do a whole hell of a lot to inspire confidence. And yet there is this from Notre Dame's athletics director:
Swarbrick was the second source in two days to say that the ACC will eventually be making more money per school than the Big 12. That would seemingly put to rest speculation that Florida State is trying to get out. Both of those conferences are behind the Big Ten, largely considered to be No. 1 in conference revenue at the moment.
One source said all the major conferences are within $500,000 of each other, hovering around the $20 million mark per year in annual per-school payout.
That last sentence runs contrary to basically everything that has been published about conference television contract renegotiations over the last few years, which is why it is really confusing. Is Swarbrick tipping his hand? It seems like the only conceivable way the ACC could match or exceed the Big XII would be if Notre Dame joined the ACC as a full member.
There is talk of a dedicated ACC network, and that might also help close the difference. But it's odd at this point to see someone speaking with such certainty about the ACC''s finances. Maybe the idea is to sell ad space on all the YouTube videos made by disgruntled and paranoid Florida State fans. I could see that as being a real cash cow.
Florida State can still feel free to leave the league regardless of the financial circumstances, because good god, those people, man.