Conference expansion

Following the developments of the past few days in the arena of conference expansion, the ACC is set to welcome Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh as its two newest members.

The move is unquestionably a good financial decision for both the ACC and the two new teams, as it adds two powerhouse basketball teams to the conference, extends the conference’s reach into new television markets in New York and Pennsylvania and will ultimately lead to more exposure for both the new teams and the conference. The  ACC could also leverage this move to gain access to better venues (the idea of moving the conference basketball tourney to Madison Square Garden in New York City has been mentioned).

It also highlights the shifting focus from tradition and traditional rivalries to television contracts and the financial bottom line. Syracuse and Pittsburgh fans will certainly be disappointed by the abandonment of old Big East Conference rivalries in exchange for financial growth.Additionally, the expansion will also affect non-revenue sports in a more negative way than revenue sports, particularly when it comes to travel. The recent nationwide expansion rush has been driven almost purely by a push for increased football revenue, and non-revenue teams—which have essentially been overlooked—will be forced to deal with more exceedingly long trips to away games with very few advantages in exchange for the effort.

The bottom line for Tech fans is ultimately positive. With the addition of Syracuse and Pitt, programs that feature decent football and superb basketball, Tech now enjoys a comfortable spot in a major conference that is safe from raids in the future. Conference stability has been an issue for many major programs for the past couple years, but with two new schools strengthening the ACC lineup, Tech has little to worry about.


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