ACC Expansion: Pitt & Syracuse to ACC, Expansion to 16 on the Table, Texas & Notre Dame Rumored for ACC Non-Football Membership
First the ACC tightened the reigns on it’s membership with an increase in the exit fees for a departing school last week…a move done to prevent schools like Florida St. and Virginia Tech from leaving the conference for the SEC.
And now, the ACC looks like it might take an even more proactive stance: by expanding to 14 or beyond.
The latest developments are that at least 10 schools have applied to the ACC. Notable schools include Pitt and Syracuse. The inclusion of Pitt over Rutgers or Uconn might come as a bit of a surprise, given the New York City market access those programs could provide the ACC along with Syracuse. But if Pitt were to be included in any ACC expansion, it could be due to the involvement of a nearby Pitt opponent: Notre Dame.
In addition to the latest on Syracuse and Pitt, it is also believed that Notre Dame might be considering joining the ACC for it’s non-football sports. The schools and the ACC have had discussions over the past decade, including a similar scenario in which Notre Dame was to have joined as the 13th member following the addition of Boston College.
The discussions within the ACC come directly as a result of the soon to be 13 school SEC, with the addition of Texas A&M, being right in the ACC’s backyard.
As the Big 12 schools have been considering their own options, it appears that Texas would be in a position in which they would either have to remain in an Oklahoma-less Big 12 and rebuild or leave with Texas Tech to form a new Pac-16. But over the past week, Texas and the ACC have discussed various membership opportunities. The ACC became a target by Texas as it was the only conference that had not officially rejected the idea of Texas retaining it’s own LHN network.
As it stands now, there seem to be 5 potential paths with some additional variable such as the specific schools added:
1) The ACC expands to 14 for all sports with Syracuse and Pitt the top candidates.
2) The ACC expands to 16 for all sports with Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers and UConn. This is a scenario that has always seems the most logical as it would lock up the population rich northeast markets as ACC territory and bridging Boston College to other ACC member Maryland. Of course, that is only a 16 team scenario should Notre Dame and Texas pass as members.
3) Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Texas join for all-sports
4) Pitt and Syracuse join for all-sports, Texas and Notre Dame would join for non-football sports. Texas would also opt to participate as a football independent, part of small group comprised of Notre Dame, BYU, Army and Navy.
5) The ACC expands to 16 total schools for all-sports with 2 likely Big East schools (Syracuse and Pitt), and joined by Texas and Texas Tech
The ACC is officially commenting that there have been discussions, but no final decisions.
The identities of the 10 formal ACC applicants is also unknown at this time. As the applications could include non-football membership, one potential list of 10 could include:
Villanova (confirmed discussions)