Skip to main content

Amid the latest push for college football expansion and conference realignment, it was thought that ACC teams would stay put because of the league's air-tight grant of rights agreement that doesn't expire until 2036, but now some schools could be looking for a way out, according to a report from SI insider Ross Dellenger.

Seven current ACC members — Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, Miami, NC State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech — have met in private to determine how unbreakable the conference's current agreement really is.

With all the movement taking place around the country, those schools appear to be of the opinion that they can get a better deal somewhere else, with Dellenger revealing that the schools believe their membership in the ACC to be "an untenable situation."

About the ACC's contract

The deal these schools want out of gives ownership of media rights to the ACC in a deal with ESPN that runs through 2036. If a school leaves, it would have to pay a gigantic exit fee — thought to be around $120 million — to the league, which would also continue to own the TV rights for that school's home games.

One option for these ACC teams would be to have the conference ask ESPN for more money, but it's not expected that request would be granted given the network's current cuts, while another less likely option would be to create its own conference.

The timing of these rumors is noteworthy, given the ACC has kicked off its spring meetings, at which it's expected these seven schools are looking to push for a revenue model that will give them more money and less to the league's other members.

Perhaps notably, those schools' athletic directors have been asked to not speak publicly with the media, a decision that came after a four-hour meeting with ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, according to insider Brett McMurphy.

Expansion up to now

Recently, the SEC announced plans to add Texas and Oklahoma, and the Big Ten to include USC and UCLA, with all four schools making the move starting in 2024.

Four schools — Houston, BYU, Cincinnati, and UCF — moved to the Big 12 as that league looked to respond to losing its top two brand names, and will start playing in the conference this coming football season.

And there have been multiple reports that the Big 12 and Big Ten are interested in potentially adding current Pac-12 members, while the Pac-12 itself is looking to include San Diego State and potentially SMU in the near future.

Wherever college football expansion goes, it's clear that it's not over just yet.


More college football from SI: Top 25 Rankings | Schedule | All Teams

Follow College Football HQ: Bookmark | Rankings | Picks