Conference Realignment Rumors: Miami Not Willing to Follow FSU, Clemson’s Approach Against ACC

    As conference realignment rumors swirl around the ACC, the athletic director of the Miami Hurricanes has spoken out in support of the league.

    Conference realignment has shifted the focus on college football recently, but we might not be done yet. The Clemson Tigers have joined the Florida State Seminoles in taking legal action against the ACC in a dispute over exit fees that could rock the conference to its core.

    However, the ACC has been praised by one of its other high-profile programs — the Miami Hurricanes — who have spoken out to celebrate and glorify the league. Conference realignment rumors won’t go away from the ACC, and it seems neither will the ‘Canes.

    Is Miami Staying in the ACC?

    The ACC is toeing the line of potentially falling into turmoil. Faced with an internal fight against Clemson and Florida State, the conference was desperate for some positive spin amidst continuing college realignment rumors.

    That finally happened on March 21 when Miami AD Dan Radakovich spoke out in support of the conference.

    “Here at the University of Miami, we are incredibly solid with the ACC” Radakovich told WQAM. “It’s a great conference, provides great structure and access to the college football playoff, which is very, very important.”

    “The ACC is still one of the Power Four conferences that are part of the college football playoff, a very active and vibrant member of that Power Four,” the Miami AD continued. “We are very proud to be a part of that, a leading brand within the ACC, and will continue to be a part of it.”

    The vote of confidence in the ACC comes days after ESPN reported that Clemson was joining Florida State in filing a lawsuit against the conference “over exorbitant exit fees.”

    The debate has been fueled by the potential cost of the two teams withdrawing early from the ACC’s Grant of Rights that gives the conference the rights to all ACC team’s media deals. To withdraw, the conference has set an enormous sum that Clemson says is “unconscionable” and “unenforceable.”

    Why Are Teams Looking To Leave the ACC?

    The conference’s issues arise from money. ACC teams get drastically less than other conferences as part of the media rights deal the ACC struck with ESPN, expected to be around $17 million per school.

    It has led to Clemson and Florida State seeing the increase in revenue generated by teams in the SEC and Big Ten and wanting a larger slice of the pie. The SEC is expected to generate $40 million per year, per program. Meanwhile, the Big Ten produces around $31.5 million per school annually.

    As On3 shares, the current ACC right deal pays even less than the PAC-12 did in 2023 — thought to be $21 million per year. The lack of TV revenue and the expiration of the rights package has seen the Pac-12 become the Pac-2 as schools search for more significant revenue streams.

    However, what is different for the ACC is that their Grant of Rights was signed back in 2013 and runs through 2036. Over a decade ago, $240 million annually for the ACC was a good deal. But as money has increased and other conferences have pounced and gotten richer, that deal has stagnated as other conferences bask in their profits.

    It has led to the Tigers and Seminoles wanting to explore opportunities in another conference. As two of the biggest brands in the sport, they feel they can earn substantially more money elsewhere. To do so, they must pay an exit fee to withdraw from the Grant of Rights, which they believe is an extortionate sum.

    ESPN stated that the cost of exiting the Grant of Rights and the conference exit fee “was cast as $572 million in Florida State’s lawsuit.”

    KEEP READING: 2024 College Football Realignment 

    Clemson and Florida State are fighting back against those astronomical numbers, leading to lawsuits against the conference from two of the conference’s most successful programs.

    There are challenging and dark days ahead for the ACC, which is picking a war with two of the biggest brands in the sport.

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