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Align This: ACC Grant of Rights Could End Conference Realignment

The 15 ACC schools are expected to sign an agreement that essentially relinquishes media rights to the conference, stymieing whatever momentum was still pushing the Big Ten's expansion plans.


For the foreseeable future -- until 2026-27, it seems -- conference expansion is headed for a slow crawl after the ACC presidents approved a Grant of Rights that will keep all home games for the conference's 15 schools under ESPN control for the next 14 years. David Glenn of first reported the deal, with confirmation from CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler and ESPN's Brett McMurphy coming shortly thereafter.

The ACC is now the fourth major conference to have a Grant of Rights, joining the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 as leagues that are now making it near-impossible for teams to flee elsewhere. All 15 ACC schools have now granted the conference the revenue coming from broadcast rights. Should a school still somehow decide to leave for another conference, it would still be sending its TV money to the ACC. And we all well know it's that precious $$$ that's been keeping Jim Delaney's eyes squarely on the Marylands and Rutgers' of the world.

So where are now? The ACC is suddenly pretty strong and stable, having essentially added Notre Dame while swapping Maryland for Louisville; the Big Ten will have to look (hard, if it still wants to at all) for further expansion options now that Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia are off the board; and the SEC can keep on laughing at all of this, because it doesn't even need a Grant of Rights to hold onto its 14 schools.