ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips on realignment rumors: ‘We’re all in this together’

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ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips spoke about the future of the league after the conclusion of the league’s spring meetings on Wednesday. “What I’ve been told (by athletic directors and chiefs) is that we’re all in this together – categorically,” he said. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Reports emerged this week that a group of seven ACC schools (Virginia Tech, Florida State, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Virginia) got together and with attorneys to examine the ACC Grant of Rights, which ties the schools to each other and the league through 2036.
  • Phillips said he encourages universities to come to ACC headquarters to examine conference grants of rights. “This is not a warning sign to me that something bad might happen, etcetera,” he said on Wednesday.
  • Regarding the group exploring granting rights, Phillips said, “That’s not news to me, per se. There isn’t a conference in the country or institutions that haven’t talked about expanding the conference and the landscape and what works best.”

the athleteInstant Analysis:

What comes next

Everyone takes a deep breath. seriously. It’s been an interesting and stressful few days in the ACC, and as we get to the end of it all, the main takeaway is this: We knew that schools were examining enfranchising for how tight they were, and now we know some of those schools had those conversations among themselves. It’s not entirely shocking, but each decision feels heightened in a period of instability and realignment across the national landscape.

Does this mean that those seven schools will really challenge the granting of rights? we do not know. They don’t know yet. Will it be soon or, say, six years from now? We don’t know that either. But, as an ACC source told me last week, “If it were that simple, everyone would already have done it.” – Auerbach

What did Phillips say?

Phillips said the ACC board will not vote next week on a new revenue-sharing model, but that “the board is excited about it.” The league discusses weighted ways to reward success on the field (or on the court), essentially allowing the schools that have the most success to eat more of what they kill.

“We’re better off together than a smaller subgroup in the sense that national championships have been shown to be great when you have multiple championships to compete for, not just a couple.”

background story

On Tuesday, Florida State athletic director Michael Alford said the Seminoles were “thrilled” to be in the ACC and wanted to remain a member of the league, a day after reports emerged that the group of schools was exploring ways to leave the conference. Alford also said league members are discussing potential revenue sharing models to be implemented in the new 12-team football playoff era during the ACC Spring Meetings this week in Amelia Island, Florida.

“The ads and the universities are very unified,” Alford told reporters. “So we are happy to be in this league, and we want to stay in it.”

Virginia Tech Athletic Director Whit Babcock She confirmed to the Richmond Times-Dispatch That the seven schools got together and had discussions.

What did Babcock and Radkovich say?

“I would classify it as a number of conversations, usually in small groups, about interpretations of granting rights, league bylaws, and options that might be there,” Babcock told The Times-Dispatch. “But you know, granting rights has been considered a lot of times by a lot of people.”

Babcock said the talks were not as structured as many interpreted from Monday’s reports and that many of the discussions involved subgroups of the seven, rather than the seven all together. After those conversations became public, there was essentially vindication of the grievances, according to Miami Athletic Director Dan Radakovich.

“People had to say where they are and why you feel that way,” Radakovic told reporters, adding that the growing revenue gap between the Big Ten and the SEC and everyone else could affect ACC schools in the myriad ways that will show up on the field or on the court. “We have this gap, and the gap is not just about money,” Radakovic said.

“I think it wasn’t ideal that it was brought up, but it was a catalyst for some real conversations and maybe getting to things a little faster that we’ve been working on as the ACC,” Babcock said.

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(Photo: Jim Dedmon/USA Today)

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