Stanford, Cal, SMU Set to Join ACC After NC State Flips Vote

by Riley Overend 52

September 01st, 2023 ACC, College, News, Pac-12

One month after the collapse of the Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) presidents voted Friday morning to expand with the additions of Stanford, Cal, and SMU to the league beginning in 2024.

Clemson, Florida State, and North Carolina opposed the ACC’s expansion, but NC State reportedly flipped its vote after weeks of negotiations around finances (the league needed 12 of 15 votes for approval).

Current American Athletic Conference (AAC) member SMU agreed to forgo media rights revenue for at least nine years while Stanford and Cal will start at 30% of their share, increasing annually for 12 years until they reach full membership.  The pro-rata increases in the ACC’s media rights deal and aforementioned concessions by SMU, Stanford, and Cal creates a new pool of about $50 million to be used for performance-based incentives.

“We are thrilled to welcome three world-class institutions to the ACC, and we look forward to having them compete as part of our amazing league,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement.

“I respect the outcome of today’s vote and welcome our new members to the ACC,” University of North Carolina chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said in a statement. “My vote against expansion was informed from feedback I have gathered over the last several weeks from our athletic leadership, coaches, faculty athletic advisors, student-athletes and a variety of other stakeholders who care deeply about our University and the success of our outstanding athletic program. I look forward to working with all our colleagues in the ACC to ensure excellence in academics and athletics — something our conference has long been known for.”

From a swimming perspective, the move is certainly intriguing. Four of the best programs over the past decade — two-time defending NCAA men’s champion Cal, Stanford, three-time defending NCAA women’s champion Virginia, and NC State — will now have to go through each other for the ACC title before facing off again at the NCAA Championships. Plus, the cross-country scheduling issues that might plague other sports shouldn’t really impact the dual meet calendar in swimming.

The ACC will soon have 17 full members, plus football independent Notre Dame, starting next summer, becoming the fourth league with at least 16 schools along with the Big 12 (16), SEC (16), and Big Ten (18). The ACC is also the second conference to span from coast-to-coast after the Big Ten spread its footprint from Los Angeles to New Jersey. Of the ACC’s 18 members, 15 sponsor women’s swimming and 14 offer men’s swimming programs.

ACC Membership in 2024-25

  • Boston College *
  • Cal †*
  • Clemson
  • Duke *
  • Florida State *
  • Georgia Tech *
  • Louisville *
  • Miami *
  • North Carolina *
  • NC State *
  • Notre Dame *
  • Pitt *
  • SMU †*
  • Stanford †*
  • Syracuse
  • Virginia *
  • Virginia Tech *
  • Wake Forest

*sponsors women’s swimming (15 schools)

– sponsors men’s swimming (14 schools)

Only Washington State and Oregon State remain in the Pac-12, and both are being courted by the Mountain West and the AAC. Last month, Oregon and Washington bolted for the Big Ten while Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah followed Colorado to the Big 12.

Just like that, the Power Five has been reduced to the Power Four.

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9 months ago

Just wondering what this does to Olympic sports long term. Worrying a bit.

9 months ago

Stanford’s swim team is fully endowed and receives no funds from the athletic budget. This includes all 14 scholarships and coaches salary. One solution to help mitigate travel burden is to have two 4 way duals each year. One long trip a year is manegeable. Conference meets are already Sunday to Sunday so Stanford and Cal can fly charter together.

9 months ago

wish the ACC would turn on ND and tell them to fully join.

9 months ago

More greed-driven insanity. Let’s fly all the way across the country to have a swim meet or a volleyball/soccer/tennis match. Yea!

Lap Counter
9 months ago

No doubt to me the Big 12 will be the weakest swimming conference once again of the Power 4… far! Not saying that is a good or bad thing!

1650 Onetrick
9 months ago

If, in a vacuum, we proposed that some non-revenue PAC-12 athletes would have to regularly travel to Dallas, we would be saying the same things that have been said about PAC-12 schools joining the ACC. But since this ridiculous distance is half of another even more ridiculous distance, this is a win? NC State folded, and it’s for another reason.

9 months ago

NCAA appears to be letting every non-football and basketball player know that they are expendable, worthless, and that their sport only exists to satisfy title 9 requirements. The total disregard for non-revenue creating sports is sadly completely predictable, but it still sucks

Reply to  Ryan
9 months ago

They’ve been letting people know for a long time now – it’s always been a business and always will.

Reply to  Ryan
9 months ago

I hate the NCAA but this isn’t on them, they had nothing to do with it. This is on the university presidents and ADs.

Pau Hanna
Reply to  Wethorn
9 months ago

Agreed – plus basketball has nothing to do with this either. Football is the sole driver of these moves.

9 months ago

The addition of Cal guarantees that the ACC will win its first men’s national championship.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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