New ACC deal might have stopped conference realignment

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The ACC may have found a way to slow down, or possibly even halt conference realignment.

Conference realignment has been going on a full speed for the past few years, but now the end could be in sight. The ACC and their 15-member schools have agreed to hand over their media rights to the league for the next 15 years.

This means that all member schools give their multimedia rights up to the league, and do not own them; therefore making a switch to a new league impossible. With the ACC controlling all of the media rights, if a team leaves neither the new league or the school would get any television money as it will stay with the ACC.

This is odd since Florida State has been reportedly trying to get into the Big 12, and Clemson has been angling for an invite to the SEC. Whatever the rationale for giving up their TV rights to the league was does not matter, with the exception that conference realignment is slowing down.

The Big 12 has a similar set up in their league making tough for Texas or Oklahoma schools to join a different league; the Pac-12 has a similar deal in place.

What this means to the Mountain West is that if the Big 12 every wants to go to 12 schools -- something they are not actively looking to do so -- their options are limited. There is perhaps Cincinnati, BYU, Boise State or Air Force; just maybe they snag another Texas school like Houston.

The Big 12 is not going to go after Boise State since the Idaho market does not bring much, and it would mean the league has a school in Idaho and West Virginia. Unless, they can pry BYU away from BYUtv and the non-Sunday play issue, that would be the only scenario where Boise State just might get an invite.

However, what this means even more is that BYU's option of ever joining a conference for football -- if they decide to do so -- are severely limited. The Pac-12 does not want a religious school and the American Athletic Conference is not of interest to the Cougars, so that makes the Mountain West the only viable option for BYU.

Again, that is if BYU ever needs to join a league. However, that could be sooner than later if their football program has good years but is shut out of a big money access bowl. Being independent guarantees them nothing in that regard, but if they are in a conference outside of the Big Five all they need to do is be the best team.

Regardless what BYU does or does not do, the good news is that the conference shuffling very much looks like it is winding down, and possibly over for the next 15 years.

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