The entire college football world got a shock to the system earlier this week when it was announced that USC and UCLA would be leaving for the Big Ten in 2024. It's becoming clearer and clearer that the landscape of the sport is changing.
With USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten and Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC, both conferences are now up to 16 teams. There's a real possibility that the two conferences will continue to look to expand their ranks.
A few days ago, Action Network's Brett McMurphy took a look at what is next in the conference realignment battle. The SEC is expected to stay aggressive when it comes to adding more schools to the conference.
Programs in the southeast such as Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, and Virginia were a few of the names mentioned by McMurphy. All four of those schools would need to get out of the ACC's Grant of Rights to join a new conference, which doesn't expire until 2036.
"With the Big Ten’s impending monster media rights deal, don’t expect the SEC to stand pat.
“Even by adding Oklahoma and Texas, the SEC is not going to sit back and watch the Big Ten and let things happen,” a source said.
The SEC would likely target current ACC schools, such as Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina or Virginia, sources said. However, those schools would have to find a way out of the ACC’s Grant of Rights, which doesn’t expire until 2036."
Conferences such as the ACC and Pac-12, as well as most of the rest of the country, simply aren't going to be able to compete with the amount of revenue that programs from the SEC and Big Ten will be raking in each year. The Big Ten's new media rights deal is expected to generate around $100 million annually for each program.
That's why it's important for Florida State and other premier programs to get ahead of the curve and find a new home sooner rather than later. However, it's likely not going to be an easy thing to accomplish for anyone in the ACC.
There's the standard exit fee but schools are also required to pay a Grant of Rights, which is when institutions agree to allow the conference to hold the rights to their media. As stated above, the current deal does not expire until 2036. If a program was to try and leave the ACC prior to the expiration of the grant of rights, they would have to pay the exit fee and forfeit revenue gained through their media deal to the conference. It's very possible that number could wind up being in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Is there another way out? Not yet but there might be an avenue to travel down in the near future. USC and UCLA won't begin play with the Big Ten until 2024. Texas and Oklahoma won't join the SEC until 2025. In both cases, this is due to the programs' respective conference's grant of rights expiring at that time.
However, the four schools might not want to wait years down the road to get started with their new conferences. If they somehow wiggle out of their grant of rights deal, it would give Florida State and other programs an example to follow.
Regardless, this is going to be an interesting situation to monitor over the next couple of years.
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