Sources: ACC adding Cal, Stanford and SMU
The month-long saga has reached its conclusion, with the ACC adding the Bears, Cardinal and Mustangs, growing to an 18-team league that spans coast to coast.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is heading westward.
The ACC voted to extend invitations to Cal, Stanford and SMU, sources told The Inside Zone, marking the end of a nearly month-long process and expanding the conference’s footprint by more than 2,000 miles. ESPN was the first to report the news.
The three new schools will begin ACC play in all sports in 2024-25, bringing the league to 18 total members, and 17 in football without Notre Dame.
Cal and Stanford are making significant financial concessions to gain admittance, taking only a minor share of the extra media revenue that will come into the conference as part of the additions. The ex-Pac-12 schools were left without direction once their former conference fell to four remaining members earlier this month.
SMU has agreed to forfeit seven years’ worth of media rights revenue as part of the Mustangs’ agreement to enter the ACC.
SMU must also pay an exit fee to the American Athletic Conference. The AAC requires a $10 million exit fee for giving 27 months’ notice of a departure. Cincinnati, Houston and UCF paid $17 million apiece to leave for the Big 12 within two years.
There is no precedent for an AAC member leaving within 12 months, although the belief within the conference is that the Mountain West Conference’s $34 million exit fee for leaving within a year — a number that became public during San Diego State’s summer flirtations with the Pac-12 — will serve as a benchmark for negotiations between commissioner Mike Aresco and SMU.