(Editor's note: The ACC has postponed a presidents meeting slated for Monday evening after the University of North Carolina had an active shooter on campus, sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports. Below is the original story published earlier Monday.)
ACC presidents are scheduled to meet on a call Monday evening to discuss and potentially take action on expanding to add Cal, Stanford and SMU, sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Three weeks of deep exploration into the three-team expansion plan appears to be at its end, with a determination coming from the meeting or soon afterward. The league needs support from 12 of 15 members to pass the expansion proposal.
Over the last several days, momentum has been building in support of expansion — a change from 2 1/2 weeks ago. In a straw poll of presidents Aug. 9, an expansion vote fell at least one vote short of passing. There were four dissenters: Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina and NC State. Notre Dame receives a vote as the 15th member and supports expansion.
Commissioner Jim Phillips has driven much of the discussion of late, keeping alive the proposal along with officials from Notre Dame, who have publicly and privately supported the measure. Phillips presented new financial models to presidents and athletic directors in several meetings that unfolded last week.
However, it remains uncertain if all four dissenters are in support of the measure.
“Would the presidents vote if it is not unanimous?” one administrator asked.
The new financial figures are at the center of the latest push. The ACC stands to bring in $72 million in annual additional revenue from expansion — a large portion of which will be distributed to conference members both evenly and also through an incentive pool based on athletic success.
Stanford, the bell-cow of the group, and Cal are proposing to forgo a majority of revenue distribution for multiple years if they receive an invitation to the conference. The schools have agreed to start at 30% of distribution, or about $8 million each. SMU will forgo at least seven years without distribution and as many as nine. However, those figures are fluid and discussions are ongoing. The concessions free up more than $50 million annually in new money from ESPN — a boon for a conference that has been searching for additional revenue to appease restless members.
The ACC’s television contract with ESPN includes a pro-rata clause requiring the network to increase the value of the deal by one Tier 1 share for every new member — believed to be about $24 million a share, or about 70% of a full ACC share, which includes Tier 1-3.
After Stanford's and Cal’s shares are removed, as well as travel costs, ACC schools stand to earn more than $30 million in new wealth to be distributed every year.
Over the last week, progress has been made on distributing the cash through an incentive pool that is heavily weighted on football success. It’s a similar model to what the league approved this spring with its CFP and NCAA tournament monies. Once split evenly, CFP and NCAA tournament revenue will now be distributed based on a school’s success in those events — a decision that came after the football and basketball powers publicly encouraged such a move.
The expansion revenue pool is expected to feature incentives connected to CFP participation, conference championships, bowl game assignments and more. Work on those models is ongoing.
The significant reduction of shares from Cal, Stanford and SMU is not permanent. The schools would see shares escalate over the course of the grant-of-rights, a binding agreement running through 2036 that they are required to sign. Also, the three schools will receive non-TV distribution annually from the league, including evenly distributed monies from the CFP and NCAA tournament as well as the additional revenue from the incentive pool.
There is some urgency in a decision. CFP commissioners meet in Dallas on Wednesday to likely begin exploring changes to the playoff expansion format and revenue-distribution model, which Yahoo Sports examined in a story two weeks ago.
There is growing movement to alter the format from six automatic qualifiers to five automatic qualifiers and from six at-large births to seven at-large births, multiple officials say.
If the ACC does expand, there are some perks for ESPN, too. The network would retain SMU’s broadcasting rights (it now owns the Mustangs' rights as part of the American Athletic Conference package) and regain the rights of Stanford and Cal. ESPN would also receive an increase in in-network rates for now having schools reside in California and Texas.
The ACC’s decision with regards to Stanford and Cal is impacting two schools out West. Oregon State and Washington State are delaying any decisions of their own. The duo wishes to rebuild the Pac-12 — already a tall hurdle that will be made more difficult without a brand like Stanford.
Without Stanford, OSU and WSU’s options are limited. Joining either the Mountain West or the American Athletic Conference are the most likely scenarios. The Mountain West and American are making their pitches to the schools over the coming days, as Yahoo Sports reported Thursday.