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The ACC Kills Realignment (For Now)

By securing a surprise agreement on grant of rights, the ACC seems to have put a stop to the latest round of realignment, but how will it effect WVU?


For all intents and purposes, the serial drama series know as Realignment came to a screeching halt this afternoon with the ACC announcement that its 15 member schools had signed on to an agreement extending the existing grant of media rights through 2026-27 (the length of the league’s TV deal with ESPN.)

Since all news breaks on twitter these days, I thought it might be fun to use some tweets as an avenue to discuss the move and more importantly how it effects WVU and the Big 12.

There are some who seem to think that a grant of rights doesn’t necessarily represent a binding contract and it could be successfully challenged in court – much like buyouts have. Maybe so, but to Mr. Staples’ point, you’re talking about some big boy bucks. Hard to think any team would think so little of their existing home that they’d be willing to roll the dice on their entire athletic department’s funding for the next decade to leave it. So if you see someone seriously making this argument, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that it’s a blogger with a law degree who's just trying to help his colleagues rack up billable hours.

It kills me to say this, but the ACC did very well here. Much like the Big 12, they were all but given up for dead at various points in this thing. They were derided as a new wave Big East. They were "the 5th wheel" of the major conferences. Then they decided they could stomach Notre Dame’s "just the tip" arrangement for conference affiliation tand swapped perennial crap-burger Maryland for a program in Louisville that has done nothing but shit cotton candy for the past year.

Well played ACC, well played.

Moving on:

Be really interesting to see where the two conferences who started this whole mess are in a few years. Hard to look at squads like Utah, Colorado, Maryland and Rutgers (hahaah…….Rutgers is in the B1G….seriously…RUTGERS!!) and think they’ll bring enough value to the table to offset the huge welfare check……..television payout check that they cash every year. The only thing better than having ONE Vanderbilt?? TWO VANDERBILTS!!! (enjoy, PAC 12 and B1G).

I know what you're thinking. "Get to the point already, how does this effect WVU and the Big 12???"

OK, I like Patrick but this sentiment irks me. There’s a revisionist history narrative out there that WVU had a choice back in November 2011 and made a bad decision. Not so. There weren’t schools lining up to offer slots. We got a nice feel up in the corner from the SEC which was thrilling, but at the end of the day the Big 12 was the only league ready to party. Neither the B1G or PAC 12 had any interest and the ACC didn’t think we made enough money to take us home to daddy. So cowboy boots and spitoons it is. Are long distance relationships tough? Of course, but so is dying alone.


(No joke, I feel awful for all 3 of those places – particularly USF. They invested in their programs, became competitive and did a lot of good things on the field – and for their trouble they were crapped on as collateral damage. I remember turning to a heartbroken USF fan of about 10 or 11 at the end of the game there in 2011 and telling him he was a fan of a really good program and to be really proud and he would get to see some great things one day – just stick with it. He reminded me of myself so many times growing up; always with your team on the outside looking in. I feel awful for that little kid now. I wish them the best.)

Here’s the skinny – we all had some high hopes that the Big 12 could snatch a couple marquee names from the ACC – say Florida State and Clemson - who would also be in the Eastern Time Zone. Oliver Luck said as much back on signing day. Unfortunately John Swafford continues to be smarter than many of his conservative conference commish cohorts (I'm looking at your quick-draw Bowlsby) and is once again 3 moves ahead of everyone else. Make all the ACC jokes you want, but he started it in 2003 and finished it this afternoon. We should all be so good at our jobs.

The good news is that the 9 game conference slate is probably going to be the norm before it’s all said and done, so having 5 road conference games every other year won’t be a disadvantage limited to only Big 12 teams. Maybe something comes of the rumored ACC-Big 12 scheduling agreement and the Mountaineers can secure some marquee games within a day’s drive. In Oliver we trust.

The cataclysmic conference realignment that sent WVU west seems to finally have settled down and right now there are folks casting the Mountaineers as losers in this whole thing. I’d only remind you that these same folks cast us as winners 18 months ago and again as losers 10 years ago and again as winners 10 years before that. The fact remains that the Mountaineers reside in a major conference and are tethered to a couple of the biggest names in the game. They will get the chance to prove themselves worthy on the field and that’s really about all you can ask for.

So there we go. A few years, a few moves and a whole lot of plane tickets later realignment is finally dead. It is, right? Dead I mean? Isn’t it?