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Guest View: Expansion of the ACC

It is all about money, so let’s not gild the lily with regard to the Atlantic Coast Conference expansion to 14 teams with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the lineup.

Revenues from television, specifically the ESPN network that holds rights to ACC broadcasts, will increase. That contract is currently for 12 years and $1.86 billion.

No wonder scheduling control was long ago surrendered to television. The addition of two more teams will only complicate that scheduling, and certainly will ramp up pressure for football teams to expand their typical 12-game regular seasons, which, should a team win a bid to a bowl game, could mean a college football season of 15 games.

And by the way, these teams are part of an academic enterprise, or they’re supposed to be. But as the seasons grow longer, players will find themselves strained to be regular students, or students at all.

So far as money goes, this isn’t just about income. Now that the ACC will stretch from Florida to New York, travel expenses will increase not just for major sports but for all sports. If the ACC basketball tournament were held in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, as some suggest might be in the offing, imagine the expense for teams and fans alike.

Critics of those who raise questions about expansion claim the skeptics are living in a fantasy world, that it’s too late to go back to the days when the ACC was a regional, Southern league with intense rivalries among members. The money’s too good, advocates say. And if the ACC doesn’t expand, other conferences will snatch some of its members.

Notice that these advocates are basing their arguments on money and only on money. And some are salivating over a rumor that Texas may also be about to sign on with the ACC. Of course, some things would have to be ironed out, since Texas has its own sports network.

Not that it’s all about money. Except that it is.


— from The News and Observer of Raleigh

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