ACC leaders attempt to reconcile league's status, but admit they're only unified to a point
ACC leaders have met this week at Amelia Island, Florida, but according to multiple reports, the conference appears as much at a crossroads as it’s ever been.
ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips has tried to put on a united front and said things like, “We’re all in this together,” the school leaders disagree. Sports Illustrated reported that one unnamed person said, “We’re not unified. We’re unified until someone offers a school more to go somewhere else. Everyone is going to grab it.”
In fact, the SI report noted that the group of leaders couldn’t even agree to put out a statement of unity.
There is a group of schools dubbed the Magnificent 7 that have reportedly looked for various exit strategies. They are Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech. They are trying to close the revenue gap with the SEC and B1G, and the problem is a contract with ESPN that goes until 2036, and their lawyers have not found a loophole to exit the league for more revenue elsewhere.
The 7 on the other side: Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Wake Forest.
Phillips told ESPN that the Magnificent 7 looking elsewhere is “not a warning sign to me, that something bad may happen.”
“These are schools that are under a lot of stress and a lot of pressures and, and I understand that,” Phillips said. “The reality is our conference is 3rd in the country in distribution, and as we look at the projections, at least in this decade, we’re going to continue to be there. Now, we want to close the gap. We need to close the gap between the top 2 conferences that have started to run away from us.”