Florida State, Clemson unhappy with ACC: Financial hurdles face conference powers potentially leaving
Florida State and Clemson served as the ACC’s main programs, but over the weekend, the two league leaders voiced their dissatisfaction with some aspects of their home conference. Of course, those concerns have led to speculation about the latest round of conference reorganizations that have affected college football over the past few years, though the hypothetical scenario of the Seminoles and Tigers rushing to a new conference faces some major hurdles that make executions almost…impossible.
On Friday, the state of Florida was the first to voice its dissatisfaction with the current state of the ACC; in particular, at other conferences, those in power pointed to the growing financial gap between her and the schools. The Board of Trustees held a meeting at which according to Tampa Bay TimesFlorida State Athletic Director Michael Alford expressed concern about the ACC and its future in the changing landscape of college athletics.
“At the end of the day, for the state of Florida to compete at the national level, something has to change in the future,” Alford said.
Later that day, Clemson Athletic Director Graham Neff joined Alford in expressing his dissatisfaction with the current state of the ACC’s finances, according to Charleston Post and Courier.
“In all honesty, I called it a necessity,” he said. “We certainly recognize the investment that we continue to make as an institution, in our community, in sports, namely football, which certainly creates a lot of value, which is important in terms of television and revenue generation. Is the distribution of income in conferences, or at least in the ACC, handled differently? Yes, I have been very active in these conversations within the league and continue to look forward to taking a leadership role in our quest to make a difference. Urgently .”
Let’s dive into the issues surrounding the ACC and see why the state of Florida and Clemson may not find a new home in the near future.
The future is not so bright
The concern of Clemson and the State of Florida—and possibly other ACC programs—is centered not only around the G-10 and the SEC’s recent unexpected financial gain that allowed the two conferences to break away from the ACC, but also about the gap that will widen in the future.
This month, the SEC announced that it had distributed $49.9 million during the fiscal year 2021-22, which ended August 31, 2022. In the previous season, which included the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference paid its member organizations approximately $54.6 million. The Big Ten gave away $48.7 million. during the 2020-21 fiscal year despite the fact that due to the pandemic we are playing fewer football games than most other Power Five conferences. This figure is expected to rise significantly during the last financial year.
Compared to the FY 2020-21 ACC payment of approximately $36 million per school, according to Front Office Sports – It is clear what is the reason for the dissatisfaction of Clemson and the state of Florida. And that frustration is likely to grow with the future of college athletics.
The conference’s current television deal with Disney (ESPN and ABC) runs until 2036, meaning payouts to its member institutions won’t grow in the same way that the Big Ten and the SEC have. The Big Ten have agreed to a new deal with CBS, Fox and NBC that will pay their schools, including newcomers UCLA and USC. averaging $75 million a year from media rights. This deal expires after the 2029-30 school year, six years earlier than the current ACC deal. A new SEC deal with Disney (ESPN and ABC) starting in 2024 is expected to pay a similar amount. estimates by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.
Alford noted the disparity in income distribution during a meeting on Friday.
“After all, if something is not done, we cannot be $30 million behind our peers every year.” Alford said.
Contracts are made to be broken in every industry. In college athletics, the most recent example is the upcoming transition of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2024 — a year ahead of the end of the Big 12 deal. Clemson, Florida, or any other ACC program, for that matter, would be very expensive to leave under the league’s current entitlement.
Carolyn Egan, Florida’s vice president of legal affairs and general counsel, said in a meeting Friday that the severance fee will be approximately $120 million. according to Tampa Bay Times.
At first glance, this figure seems crazy. However, if ACC member institutions earn about $30 million less than Power 2, a four-year financial hit to ensure long-term financial stability should be an option that is on the table. What’s more, clauses in media rights agreements at other conferences that ACC schools are expected to adopt could further enhance their value.
Dodd took this screenshot from Friday’s meeting in Florida State, which details what the Power Five’s financial future looks like.
If you want to see where each conference stands in terms of revenue, this was shown yesterday to the Board of Trustees of the former Soviet Union. pic.twitter.com/VbkxFXoFlv
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) February 25, 2023
This round of reorganization of college athletics began when it was announced in July 2021 that Texas and Oklahoma would join the SEC, causing dominoes to fall across the country. Things seemed to have calmed down in 2022, but Florida State and Clemson are clearly upset, which could lead to more movement if the two schools can overcome financial hurdles.