College athletics appears to be headed for a major shakeup following the announcement the University of Colorado will move to the Big 12 conference after the 2023-24 season.
Colorado’s decision to depart the Pac-12, along with the lack of a new TV deal, has put the Pac-12 in peril of losing additional teams.
The Arizona Board of Regents will meet Thursday night to discuss Arizona and Arizona State’s future in the conference, according to multiple reports. The Big Ten is also reportedly interested in expansion, with Washington and Oregon being discussed, according to ESPN.
Then there’s Florida State, which stoked the fires of conference realignment at a board of trustees meeting Wednesday.
Florida State President Richard McCullough said remaining in the ACC “under the current situation” would be difficult.
“Our goal would be to continue to stay in the ACC, but staying in the ACC under the current situation is hard for us to figure out how we remain competitive unless there were a major change in the revenue distribution within the conference,” McCullough said, per ESPN. “That has not happened. Those discussions are ongoing at all times.
“FSU helps to drive value and will drive value for any partner, but we have spent a year trying to understand how we might fix the issue. There are no easy fixes to this challenge, but a group of us have spent literally a year. We’ve explored every possible option that you can imagine. The issue at hand is what can we do to allow ourselves to be competitive in football and get what I think is the revenue we deserve?
“This continues to be a very difficult issue. There’s a lot going on in the world of conference realignment. My current assessment of the situation after very deep analysis is I believe FSU will have to at some point consider very seriously leaving the ACC unless there were a radical change to the revenue distribution.”
The ACC is locked into a TV deal with ESPN through the 2036 season and is expected to fall behind its SEC and Big Ten counterparts by around $30 million per year in TV revenue once Oklahoma and Texas make the move to the SEC in 2024 and when USC and UCLA jump to the Big Ten.
“We would all love if every single planet aligned perfectly and tomorrow our TV contract ended and all three conferences or more conferences were offering us a deal and we could figure out what we want to do,” trustee Justin Roth said. “But no matter what we do, that timing’s not going to line up.
“For us, the alternative of just staying in this conference for the next 13 years and trying to wait for that perfect alignment of the stars is the equivalent of a death by a thousand cuts. And each cut is a $30 million cut over the next 13 years. It’s one thing to take a $30 million cut last year, and it’s another to take another one this year. But to do this for 13 years?”
To leave the ACC early, a school would have to pay three times its annual revenue and figure out the grant in media rights with the conference to broadcast future games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report