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The Good and The Bad of ACC Expansion

Conference expansion and realignment is rampant right now with college athletics being flipped completely upside down. Missouri and Texas A&M joined the SEC, the Big East added multiple schools in multiple sports and the Mountain West and Conference USA have merged in a move that is sure to make airlines happy.

The Atlantic Coast Conference refused to sit out the constant shuffling and added two basketball powerhouses to the already strong collection of schools.

The ACC will expand to 14 teams starting no later than 2014 (possibly 2013) with the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The expansion comes almost 10 years after the ACC’s first “Big East heist” that saw the conference come away with Miami (Fl.), Virginia Tech and Boston College.

Things are certain to change and, just like most things in life, there are positives and negatives to the future change. Along with having an already-great basketball conference gain two legitimate members, the conference members will gain more revenue with scheduling conflicts the likely downfall of this.

Additional Revenue

“Money makes the world go round.” The ACC isn’t above this old and often-stated testament to how the world really works. Money is the key in every single move that has been made dating back to the ACC’s first expansion to 12 teams.

New teams bring new markets that adds new customers, traveling fans and television watchers. The bigger the market is, the more revenue that can be made for the conference. Added markets make it easier for conferences to renegotiate television contracts and increase the yearly revenue stream.

It is estimated that the additions of Cuse and Pitt will bring every Atlantic Coast Conference team an additional $1-2 million and give the ACC a total of over $15 million a year just off the soon-to-be renegotiated television contract. The ACC has a strict policy of sharing their revenue evenly between all the schools in the conference.


The ACC will go to a nine-game conference slate in football when Cuse and Pitt join the conference. The additional conference game means teams will have one less out of conference game to play with and many teams will be forced to cancel future series that have already been agreed upon.

While the nine game schedule brings an extra conference game, we’re likely to see less big time out of conference matchups for ACC schools in the future. There’s just less of an incentive to schedule big-time, traditional programs when you can schedule two FBS teams along with a game against an out of conference rival (take SC/Clemson for instance).

In basketball, the ACC is already suffering with scheduling problems with only 12 conference members. The additional two teams are just going to make things even harder. Traditional basketball rivals like NC State and Duke aren’t guaranteed two games a year and they only had one contest twice in the past three seasons (at Duke this year of course). Wolfpack fans have every right in the world to be upset about the Blue Devils not making the return trip back to Raleigh.


Adding teams to the conference also means more markets open up in the recruiting world. New York and Pittsburgh are now going to be considered ACC markets which will open up the recruiting pipeline in the conference. Conversely, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will look to other ACC markets for talent which could lead to players choosing them when they wouldn’t consider it before joining the ACC.
There is big-time football talent in both states and I don’t even think I have to mention the basketball talent that comes out of New York. Having these players at their disposal will only make the conference stronger and more competitive.


The future of the Atlantic Coast Conference is strong and another future expansion is definitely not out of the question. There is some thought that the two additional teams was insurance in case the SEC decides to take an ACC team or two in the future. There is another thought that the ACC isn’t done and a 16-team conference is in the future.

In all honesty, it could go either way at this point. Connecticut is practically begging for a spot in the ACC but the conference is waiting to see what Notre Dame does. Adding Notre Dame is a no-brainer and UCONN is the logical choice to join them in the conference if/when they do join.

No matter what happens, the Atlantic Coast Conference is in good hands and is as strong as ever. It will be known as the greatest conference in college basketball while college football in the conference is on the upswing thanks to programs like Virginia Tech, Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech having recent and surefire future success on the gridiron.

Tags: FanSided NCAA NCAA Basketball The Good And The Bad Of ACC Expansion

  • MichaelHardison

    Hm, I had heard it would be more likely Rutgers and UConn but I’d much rather have Notre Dame if we expanded. There’d be some pretty intense games regardless.

    • KIH Matt


      I’m against expansion entirely. Let’s keep tradition the way it is and leave the power conferences alone. If the small conferences want to mix things up and try and create another big conference let them but the ACC is fine the way it is.

  • iLLDucE

    I don’t get why UConn is a logical choice for this conference. Notre Dame is a no-brainer, but I would much rather the conference add Rutgers. This is a big state school that fits our profile academically and athetically in ways that shore up our brand value in the NYC market in ways that Syracuse can’t because they are farther away. I believe it would mistake for this conference to look in the direction of UConn because they will not enhance our reputation on the football field and their best basketball days are behind them as soon as Calhoun retires. Not to mention that they totally embarrassed theBig East at the Fiesta Bowl a few years back.

    If I could vote, I’d definitely vote for Notre Dame and Rutgers. By the way, Swofford is destroying this conference if he thinks adding a weak school like UConn will do any good for this conference in the same way Boston College did nothing for this conference. Also, that extra 1-2 million that the ACC schools are getting is a joke. The SEC will get more for the addition Texas A&M (Texas market) & Missouri (Missouri market) than the ACC, even though we’ll be adding the states of New York and Pennslyvania.

    If the ACC doesn’t give that guy the boot and get these professors out of the conversation on who to add, then this conference will become nothing and fail.

    • KIH Matt


      I like UConn simply because it puts another powerhouse bball team. My fantasy team to join the ACC is Kentucky. Hating 2 teams as much as I hate Duke and Kentucky I’d love to play both of them 2x per year.

  • monicabiddix

    It is all about money. And it’s going to break my heart when the ACC tourney is played at MSG. It belongs in Greensboro or Charlotte. (Hey I’m trying to generate revenue for my state). So I agree with Matt. We’re getting a loooong way from Tobacco Road and in Danger of just having one Duke/UNC meeting every year. Expansion is getting a little out of hand.

  • Jordan Woodson

    I wouldn’t be mad at Rutgers instead of UCONN but adding the Scarlet Knights doesn’t necessarily do much as far as an additional market. Yes, Rutgers is in New York City but they’re not overly popular in the state. They’re at best 6th string to the Knicks, Yankees, Mets, Giants and the Jets.

    Same situation as Boston College when they entered with Miami and VT. One of the main reasons for adding them was the Boston market that the ACC thought would further expand their brand. In all honesty, it hasn’t really done much because no one really cares about B.C. in the Boston area. They’re a pro sports town just like New York.

    Connecticut isn’t a big market, not at all. But they are a pretty big sports market just because of the way ESPN oversells and promotes their in state schools. Add that to the superior basketball (especially the women). Adding a women’s basketball team like UCONN would automatically make the ACC one of the most televised in women’s sports.

    • iLLDucE

      @Jordan Woodson the problem with Women’s Sports is that they add nothing when it comes to the bottom line. I believe when you shore up your bread-and-butter programs (Football & Men’s Basketball) that gives a school leverage in terms of a larger revenue stream to hire top-notch coaches for the other non-revenue sports. For example, Duke WBB wouldnt be nowhere if it weren’t for the success of the Men’s team. By the way, Rutger’s women’s program isn’t bad either.

      Besides, Rutgers offers more meat on the bones for schools like FSU, Clemson, Miami, VT, GT and Pitt (when joins the ACC) than does Conneticut. I believe that Swofford has catered enough to the basketball schools in this conference and it’s time to show some love and appreciation to the football schools. When we had a chance to take West Virginia, we should’ve taken them. Now that we may have expand again, I think we shouldn’t deviate from the rustic, country brand that ties us all. Boston College never “kept it in the family for me”.

  • Foreverwhalerfan

    The acC should keep its hands off THE BIG EAST!!!!!!!! It has already caused way too many unnecessary problems. If it thinks that it is so great, it should stick to its own teams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!