If the Big Ten has an eye on one more possible expansion to the west coast, then the news out of the ACC could be worth noting. According to multiple reports, the ACC’s discussions on exploring the potential additions of Cal and Stanford have hit a bit of a rough patch as the conference fails to collectively agree on the value of adding two of the four remaining schools from the Pac-12.
While Cal and Stanford would be great academic additions to the ACC, and the Olympic sports power that would be added with the two schools is unquestioned, the financial boost that would be generated is not nearly attractive enough to enough schools currently in the ACC to move the process any further.
According to a report from ESPN, one school that has been pushing hard for the additions of Cal and Stanford has been Notre Dame. While the Irish are a football independent and showing no signs of being ready to abandon that, Notre Dame is a member of the ACC in all other sports (except for ice hockey, where they are a Big Ten member). The same report suggests Notre Dame’s vote has been scrutinized because of its football independence.
“But multiple athletic directors have questioned why anyone in the league would listen to Notre Dame because the Irish remain so steadfast in remaining independent,” ESPN reports.
Reading deeper into the ESPN report seems to suggest the ACC is exploring this potential expansion move almost for the sake of expansion to keep up in the numbers race. And that is probably not the most convincing reason to expand.
The ACC also has a deadline approaching for schools to inform the conference of any intent to leave the conference. That deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 15. Florida State has been the most vocal about their uncertainty of the long-term sustainability as a member of the ACC. So if the Big Ten is looking to get to 20 members, the next few days could be wildly entertaining.
If Cal and Stanford are not going to be invited to join the ACC, then the Big Ten could still be the most logical landing spot for the two schools. The Big Ten is already adding USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington in 2024. The additions of Cal and Stanford would not move the needle much more on the football side of things, but there does not seem to be a better landing spot for the two Pac-12 schools than the Big Ten.
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