The three-year odyssey of wholesale major conference realignment could soon come to an end.
The ACC announced Monday that its 15 member schools will sign a Grant of Rights, which will serve to prevent the conference from being poached. The conference has been in talks "in earnest" about the Grant of Rights for about a month, according to a person with direct knowledge of the talks.
While the "Grant of Rights" is one of those quintessential realignment terms that can make eyes glaze over, this is incredibly significant progress for the ACC.
"This is the first recent indication of the long-term promise of mutual stability in one of the conferences most likely to be affected by future realignment," said Kevin O'Malley, a sports media consultant. "It is really significant."
Essentially, this announcement protects the ACC from seeing other leagues -- the Big Ten and Big 12, specifically -- take its teams. For the next few decades, no teams will be able to leave the ACC without sacrificing their media rights, hence giving those schools no value to the leagues looking to expand.
Theoretically, this would protect the 15-member ACC through 2026-27, which is the length of the league's current contract with ESPN. That's a similar model to the deals in play in the Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten, all of which have Grant of Rights agreements in place.
"This announcement further highlights the continued solidarity and commitment by our member institutions," said ACC commissioner John Swofford. "The Council of Presidents has shown tremendous leadership in insuring the ACC is extremely well positioned with unlimited potential."