New day dawns for ACC

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford has spent nearly two years working to bring in new schools, refuting reports of departures and securing a media rights deal to pump the brakes on realignment.

The end result comes Monday when Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame officially arrive to form a 15-team ACC.

“It’s a very exciting time to be a part of this league,” Swofford said. “In a lot of ways, it feels like Pitt and Syracuse and Notre Dame are already in the league ... We’re just in a really good place right now.”

The changes began with the ACC inviting Pitt and Syracuse in September 2011. A year later, Notre Dame said it would join in all league sports except football, though it will play five games annually against ACC teams.

Then, after Maryland’s surprise defection to the Big Ten for 2014, the league reached out to Louisville as a replacement and secured a grant-of-rights agreement giving the ACC control of TV money for schools that leave before the broadcast deal ends after the 2026-27 season.

It’s the second ACC expansion in 16 years under Swofford, who lured Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech from the Big East a decade ago.

“The Maryland move was disconcerting in the sense that it caught all of us by surprise,” Swofford said. “When you lose one, you kind of look sideways a little bit about the trust factor. .”

The 14 football members will receive an average of more than $20 million annually. Notre Dame will get a basketball share worth about 20 percent of the ACC’s TV package .

The league is also researching the creation of its own TV channel.

Swofford will ring in Monday’s changes at the Nasdaq closing bell ceremony in New York with Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and North Carolina’s Roy Williams along with Virginia Tech’s football coach Frank Beamer.

It’s all part of a new world for the ACC.

“There’s just potential opportunities that have never been there before and we need to recognize those, evaluate what’s best for the future, and respect what has brought us to where we are today,” Swofford said. “We’re still the ACC. Our cornerstones have not changed. We’re bigger and better and stronger than we’ve ever been in our history.”


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