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Conference Realignment: 7 ACC Schools Rumored to be Talking How to Escape Grant of Rights



Clemson Dabo Swinney
Image credit to David Hague (PSN/WVSN)

The school year is ending. The collegiate sports seasons have ended or are coming to an end. That means it’s the conference realignment rumor period of the offseason.

Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated and ActionNetwork’s Brett McMurphy reported on Monday that seven ACC schools have met in the past several months with lawyers trying to figure out how unbreakable the grant-of-rights deal is that ends in 2036. The seven schools are Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech, according to McMurphy.

If any ACC school breaks the grant of rights, the school will still have their TV rights controlled by the ACC. There are potential loopholes the schools can go through to get out of this, which is what they’re trying to figure out currently. Dellenger says the schools can earn extra revenue from ESPN, create a new conference or exit the league.

Over the last year, rumors have swirled that the SEC is interested in ACC schools such as Clemson, Florida State, Miami and maybe others. The Big Ten has also been rumored to be interested in some of the other top ACC universities.

Can these ACC schools get out of the grant of rights as the Big 12 and Pac-12 continue to survive in the realignment battle?

In June 2022, UCLA and USC announced their official departure from the Pac-12 for the Big Ten. The two California universities will join in 2024. Texas, Oklahoma and the Big 12 came up with an agreement for the two to leave for the SEC in 2024. Everyone is waiting for the next domino to fall, whether that’s the Pac-12 falling apart or trying to salvage UCLA and USC leaving.

The Big 12 will officially bring in BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF on July 1. Commissioner Brett Yormark has shown interest in expanding west but has also promoted the conference in New York City. Yormark seems to be aggressive in conference realignment.

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