The ACC has officially added three new teams: Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame. Pittsburgh and Syracuse will both be joining the conference in every sport they compete in, while Notre Dame will be joining in every sport except football. With the addition of the three teams, bringing the total number of schools in the conference to fifteen, the ACC is now the largest BCS conference in the nation. Though the move doesn’t look as if it was made to strengthen the conference football-wise, with the addition of schools who take primary pride in their basketball programs, the new ACC is on its way to becoming arguably the most competitive basketball conference ever.
Each of these schools has a great tradition and should be good additions for the conference. In a college sports world where revenue is everything, expanding more into the northeast was important to the ACC. With Syracuse becoming a member, the ACC is sure to have a larger presence in the New York television market. Though New York is not necessarily a big college sports city, it is home to many ACC alumni. Notre Dame, with its Catholic affiliation, has one of the largest fan bases that stretches across the nation and will also help to increase the conference’s marketability. With expansion, comes change. It is unclear how the new members will affect ACC tradition, but there could be more changes coming soon. For example, the ACC Basketball Tournament has long been held in the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC, but there have been talks about it possibly moving to Madison Square Garden in New York City. Once again, the possibility of increased revenue would be the driving force behind any decision to make the move to New York.
Revenue is the primary factor driving conference expansion, and it is also the presumed primary reason that Notre Dame has decided not to join the conference for football. Notre Dame currently has their own television contract with NBC worth 15 million dollars a year, while allowing NBC broadcast all of their home football games. If Notre Dame joined the ACC in football, they would have to split their TV revenue with all the other schools in the conference. The ACC is not alone when it comes to this practice. Nearly every conference, except the Big 12, runs their conference this way.
Even with the addition of these three teams, the ACC isn’t quite finished with expansion. Next year, Louisville, who is coming off one of the greatest years in college sport’s history after making appearances in a BCS Bowl, the College World Series and the Final Four, will be joining the conference. Unfortunately for the ACC, longtime member Maryland will be departing the conference and will be heading to the Big Ten, along with Rutgers who will be leaving the American Conference.
It won’t be long until Tech gets an opportunity to face off against the new members. On the football field, Tech will face Syracuse on Oct. 19, and then will face Pittsburgh two weeks later in Tech’s homecoming game. Tech won’t play Notre Dame until 2015 when Tech heads to South Bend. Tech will get to make up not playing Notre Dame in football by getting to play them twice in basketball next season, once at home and once on the road.
Tech will get to host Syracuse in basketball next season, who had a very nice run in the NCAA Tournament last season before being knocked out in the Final Four by Michigan.