Conference Realignment Rumors: Georgia Tech Next ACC School Head to Big Ten?

Rumors Are Going Around That Georgia Tech May Be Next on the Big Ten's Expansion Hit List

Rumors Are Going Around That Georgia Tech May Be Next on the Big Ten’s Expansion Hit List

The conference realignment carousel never ends. And now, it could potentially have a negative effect on the ACC for the second time in the last few weeks, as there are rumors that Georgia Tech may be headed off to the Big Ten as well, joining Maryland.

What started out as some message board chatter, has seemingly gained some actual legs amongst legitimate sources. I saw some of the talk last night, however, was waiting for some legitimate sources to weigh in on the action. And then not too long ago, SB Nation’s Land Grant Holy Land (Ohio State site) posted this:

Report: Georgia Tech Approved by Big Ten to Become 15th Member

So yeah, this is a bit terrifying. And that the story is now gaining ground in some more reputable sources is a bad sign for the ACC. Of course, the Land Grant Holy Land story isn’t completely sold either (a good thing). As author Luke Zimmerman says:

Besides the most interesting subtext (like, for one, how do all these guys from areas with little to nothing to do with the Big Ten have so many midwest athletics sources?), the other is why the league would move so soon with Maryland’s legal battle with the ACC not even coming to a head yet. While I imagine the exit fees will get negotiated down out of court to something in the $20-25 million dollar range, even $50 million would be a lot for the Big Ten to ostensibly front for the likes of Maryland and Georgia Tech.”

And I’d echo those thoughts. Given the legal battle going on with Maryland, why would Georgia Tech leave now? Their names are on the lawsuit. By endorsing the suit, they endorse the league’s right to pursue that money. I’d also note that while ZImmerman believes the fees could be negotiated down, I’m tempted to think the ACC isn’t budging — especially if it ends up being both teams.

There’s no need to speculate about “what’s next” just yet, since again, these are strong rumors, instead of hard facts. But let’s get the discussion going. Do we believe Georgia Tech’s out of here? And are they the only ones (I’ve heard Kansas could be joining them, for what it’s worth). Hear anything else to support or refute these facts? Please share.

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28 thoughts on “Conference Realignment Rumors: Georgia Tech Next ACC School Head to Big Ten?

  1. There is absolutely no way Kansas is going anywhere. So, let’s put a stop to that right now.

    I wouldn’t understand why Georgia Tech would want to be so far away from any rivals??? I also, don’t forsee fans in the B1G wanting to travel down to Atlanta to support their teams. It’s just too far away to develope well. If, the B1G wants an AAU school…there is Pitt and Virginia…which are much closer and would bring top 25(area) markets.
    Georgia Tech isn’t a rival of ND, either. Why not Army to B1G? Then maybe ND will be happy and join??? Actually, I see Missouri in the B1G before GTech.

    I just don’t see GTech happening….but, stranger things have happened.

    • I didn’t see Maryland and Rutgers in the B1G until that happened, so take that for what it’s worth.

      The issue with the way the B1G’s shifted the realignment process is that it’s now complete chaos. They’re just going over programs for market, not quality or fit. Missouri was a quality school that fit last time around, and they said no. Now they’d prefer to grab Tech because of the Atlanta market, which they split with UGa. Maryland doesn’t own D.C. (though it probably controls a large share of Baltimore) and Rutgers, while they may own Jersey, do not make that enormous of a dent in NYC (contrary to anything Nate Silver’s “research” told people last year). The B1G’s moves are about cable fees and demographics. it’s destablizing college athletics at a rapid rate.

      • Right…..but, the Boston market is bigger than Atlanta. And BC doesn’t have to share it with too many other college programs on Saturdays. Which, still makes me think it would go before Atlanta’s split attention span with G and GTech. Realisticly…B1G owns the top thirty markets…with 10 of the top 30…does continueing to split the pie make more sense?

        I was hoping that GTech and Virginia would join the Big XII as travel partners for WVU.

        • As ChiTownGuy pointed out, Atlanta’s metro area is definitely bigger than Boston’s. Additionally, Boston’s a pro sports town that has plenty of other sports to occupy its time as well. Tech’s football product is better than BC’s historically, and they’d generate interest in a completely new geographic area for the B1G — SEC country.

          Tech could join the Big 12 at some point I suppose, but UVa wouldn’t be coming with. The Hoos are part of the ACC’s main bloc of schools (Duke, UVa, Wake, UNC) that are not leaving any time soon, and given the Big 12′s academic record (not great), there’s no way they’d trade it for what they have in the ACC. Academics are very high on their priority list, and when discussing Virginia’s realignment plan, that’s a factor that must be considered.

        • Based on the 2012 Neilson rankings…..Boston is #7 and Atlanta is #9. Local Television Market Universe Estimates
          Estimates as of January 1, 2013 and used throughout the 2012-2013 television season
          Estimates are effective September 22, 2012

        • The Nielsen rankings display an 80,000-person difference for the two local television markets. Depending on where you grab information, most raw population numbers show the Atlanta metro area as a bit larger.

          If we’re talking about people watching college football, Atlanta is also a hotbed for the sport, while Boston is not. So the percentage of eyeballs you can grab in Atlanta is much higher than what you’d find in Boston.

  2. I think Pitt would join the B1G before GTech.

    Pitt would have more ‘natural’ rivals in maryland, rutgers, psu and more geographic rivals in tOSU, and even Michigan for a rival since the schools are so similar. Plus it would shore up the PA market for the B1G.

    But I don’t see any school leaving the ACC.

    • Pitt and SU or BC to the B1G…would be supreme, in my mind. That would make for some nice rivals in the east and west sides of the bracket.

        • Moving to the ACC was a great move for Pitt, but Pitt would have opted for the Big Ten if the Big Ten had come calling. The Big Ten will never consider Pitt (unless packaged with ND) as this is all about entering new markets and generating revenues, and the Big Ten feels they have a footprint established in Western PA with Penn State.

  3. I’m still hoping at some point the major conferences will realize that they’re undervaluing their product by cannibalizing each other for teams/TV markets and either work out a joint TV deal or merge completely like the NFL/AFL. Having multiple top-tier conferences allows the networks to pit them against each other to drive prices down. Having one league or a joint contract among 5 or 6 conferences would put the conferences in the position of power as they would be the only provider of top-tier college football programing. They could then turn the tables and use their power to pit the networks against each other to bid the television contracts up for all the members.

    • They used to negotiate as one entity, but that drove prices down. With one entity, there’s no competition, so the price is just set once every few years, by the bidding networks.

      Unfortunately, we’re long past the time when everyone realizes all of this shuffling was ridiculous.

      • During that time, the NCAA drove prices down because it restricted the number of times a school could appear on television in the interest of “fairness”. An entity acting in an NFL fashion trying to maximize exposure of the entire entity wouldn’t make that same mistake. That’s why the major pro sports leagues in this country fought so hard to gain and continue to fight to keep their anti-trust exemptions. They use that monopoly power to drive up the value of their product and stamp out competition. I don’t see any reason why an entity composed of the power conferences couldn’t do the same. They wouldn’t even need the anti-trust exemptions. They would already have a competitor (albeit a vastly inferior one) in the NCAA’s lower levels. Competition drives prices down. Monopolies drive them up. A conglomerate of the power conferences would be ,for all intents and purposes, a monopoly on collegiate athletics.

        • But then you’re setting the value of college football at one stagnant amount. While that’s great for the ACC — it drives up the price of their product — I see little reason the SEC or B1G would want this, since it means they’re all equal. As an ACC fan, I know that’s not the case, and there’s no question the value of an LSU/Alabama game is infinitely higher than that of Virginia Tech/Florida State.

          The monopoly setup still doesn’t account for the independent cable networks, either. Now that the B1G and Pac-12 have set theirs up, and the SEC is about to launch theirs in the near future, you can’t tell them they have to shut it down now. Even in a monopoly setup, those inherent values of cable networks still exist and will differentiate leagues from each other.

  4. You’re making too much of the names on lawsuit thing. In the 04 expansion teams flipped from plaintiff to defendant to plaintiff every week. This legal stuff is just routine.

    • In the ’04 lawsuit issue, there wasn’t this much money at stake. Additionally, any outward support of collecting the full exit fee does little to help your own respective case, should you choose to leave in the short- or long-term. My point is that any other teams should wait for the outcome of the lawsuit before pursuing action to defect, since it helps them on the way out as well.

  5. People need to STOP trying to Rationalize in their Minds of Who and Why the BigTen,SEC or BigXII decide to Expand with. It is NOT about natural Rivalries….it is more about expanding their Conference footprint/exposure. Why would the BigTen take PITT when they already have The Market locked up with Penn State. They are NOT looking for “Rivalry Games” per se, they are looking for strategic FITS moving forward. The BigTen is more interested in the Total Package (academics ,research and athletics) and many schools would never pass the Credentials Test. The SEC prefers Athletic Muscle and is Very Selective Who they would Invite into the League. The BigXII or ACC will be one of Two Conferences that will be dismantled and an argument could be made for Either. The BigXII is better across the Board in Athletic prowess but the ACC is more of a Basketball Conference with Good Academic schools. The Future of College Football and the eventual Playoffs leads Me to think the BigXII will be the Survivor and the ACC will be the next BigEast. There is Only Room for Four at This Party and I do not think the ACC as it is Today will be worth saving. The BIG,SEC and Pac12 are Certain Survivors, the remaining Spot will be a Battle and there will some casualties. ACC people may not like hearing that but You will see that having a Carolina Centric League did not serve It’s Members Equally and forced Many to Look Elsewhere. Many times ‘the Grass is Greener’ when One opens their Eyes and Maryland was The First Willing to Take that Step and protect their Interests.

  6. Completely agree that all the realignment is about consolidation of conferences. There used to be 6 AQ conferences…the Big East is no longer a power conference. Consolidation helps the conferences sell their products to TV markets (more inventory, geographies, etc). Nevertheless, it’s not clear that the ACC is the likely loser as further consolidation occurs.

    The ACC has some advantages. First, there are a lot more schools & fans in the east coast…long-term demographics favor the ACC over the B12. Second, only the SEC and B1G offer clear upgrades (money and stability) and can destabilize the ACC…the B12 is surrounded by 3 competitors who may seek expansion and further poach teams.

    Now that FSU (and other football-first schools) seems to be having greater conference influence, the stability of the ACC will probably improve. Allowing ND as a partial member probably doesn’t sit well with old guard ACC schools, but it adds revenue. Inviting Louisville contradicts traditional emphasis on academics, but it adds a southern school with greater football upside. The ACC is rapidly transforming from its Tabacco Road image into an actual football conference…possibly sensible divisions can be structured and innovative scheduling of the ND games will occur.

    The ACC really needs a little luck. Maybe the SEC and B1G need to refocus on integrating their new additions. Maybe the LHN struggles financially (or the new PAC network shows promise) and the B12 approach gets scrutinized. Maybe ND gets comfortable with playing ACC football an increases its commitment. Maybe ESPN gambles on an ACC network to rival the BTN/SEC/PAC counterparts.

  7. Perhaps in retrospect, the ACC should have considered even more expansion than it did.

    Coastal Division: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, Duke, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State
    Atlantic Division: Syracuse, Connecticut, Boston College, Rutgers, Temple, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami

    Only one crossover game each year:

    Maryland – West Virginia
    Virginia – Virginia Tech
    North Carolina – Connecticut
    Duke – Syracuse
    NC State – Rutgers
    Wake Forest – Temple
    Clemson – Boston College
    Georgia Tech – Pittsburgh
    Florida State – Miami

    The ACC football championship game would be held at best team’s home field. Keep the divisions for basketball, and have teams play 12 intra-division games and 6 inter-division games each year.

    And create a MASSIVE Atlantic Coast Conference television network on the entire east coast.

    I suppose in retrospect, one can say anything. But I’m still pissed that the ACC never thought a television network was a good enough idea to pursue. They even had a lot of the infrastructure (RayCom) in place to create one.

  8. I’m a little late joining this blog, but I just found it today (12/31/12). As for GT having a travel partner, it will…two and maybe two more, in fact, as UVA will be extended an invitation to join the B10 at the same time as GT. According to sources within the B10, UNC has approached it about membership, and if UNC is accepted, Duke won’t be far behind.

  9. I’m a little late to the party as well, but I have to agree that the ACC will probably be toast within two years. There will only be 4 super conferences, probably with 16 teams each. Why? – money of course. Imagine the four super conferences holding their champion$hip games in December. The runners up would go to Bowl games (Rose Bowl for B1G and PAC 12 teams and Sugar Bowl for SEC and super conf. #4 teams, for example) controlled by the conferences. The four conference champions would go to a national champion$hip series in January also controlled by the conferences (the $uper conferences won’t need the NCAA) – and TV will pay them big money for a true national champion$hip playoff in college football.

    The B1G and SEC are already super conferences, needing only two more schools to reach 16. The PAC 12 isn’t far behind and its geographic distance from the others gives it a lock on the west coast TV market, making it almost certain to be the third. With the Big East melting down, the fourth super will be either Big 12 or ACC. The problem for the ACC is that its core NC centric teams are relatively weak in football, while the Big 12 has perennial powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma, and little sisters Tech and Okie State. ACC power football teams like Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Georgia Tech will begin looking around as soon as Maryland and the ACC negotiate an exit fee (legally speaking, the $50 million is an unenforceable penalty and the ACC must know that). They may be hoping to join the B1G or SEC, but the more likely dance partner is the Big 12, which needs 6 teams to get to 16.

    The only way I see the ACC becoming super #4, and it’s a bit of a long shot, is if they can convince Notre Dame to become a full member. That would give the ACC a real bell cow of a football program and help entice Florida State and the others to remain. ND wants desperately to remain independent, and won’t join a conference unless they have no other option. But even they recognize that in a four super conference world, ND needs to join a conference or they may be left out of a football playoff. The problem for the ACC is that ND is a much more natural fit for the B1G because about a half dozen B1G schools are within spitting distance of the ND campus. Travel to ACC schools would be much more difficult for ND’s other sports (volleyball, tennis, wrestling, lacrosse, baseball) and where on earth would the ND hockey team play other than BC and Pitt and ‘Cuse? If the ACC can pull it off, though, then maybe Texas, Oklahoma and their little sisters go west to the PAC 12 and what’s left of the Big 12 conference becomes a second tier league.

    So what happens to the ACC if the Big 12 is the fourth super conference? Maybe it becomes like the new “Catholic 7 Big East” full of primarily kick butt basketball schools, except that the ACC will still have a good a regional football program that is kind of like the Mid-American Conference (e.g. Kent State, Northern Illinois, Miami of Ohio). The NCAA would be glad to hold its own ‘playoff’ for non-super conference teams and the ACC, MAC, WAC and whatever’s left can participate. That is, if there is anything left of the ACC.

    If the B1G adds Notre Dame, it will take one more – maybe Georgia Tech or UNC (to break into new TV markets) or perhaps Syracuse or UVa, which would add the upstate NY market or solidify the MD/DC/VA market and make more geographic sense. The SEC probably won’t want Florida State, Clemson, Miami or Georgia Tech (because their in-state rivals are SEC schools who won’t want to compete with another SEC team for recruits), but any combination of UVa, Virginia Tech, UNC, NC State, Louisville or Pitt might fit nicely as teams 15 and 16. Even if the Big 12 adds the four teams most likely to move, they will still need two more and the ACC teams not going to the SEC or B1G would be the likely targets in order to create an eastern division in the Big 12. When the other conferences get done picking through the ACC, it’s conceivable that the ACC loses 9-10 teams (counting ND) to the other conferences

    Assuming the ACC can keep its core of UNC, NC State, Wake, Duke, UVA, and some of the others (like BC, Syracuse and Louisville, for instance). It can then add quality programs like UConn and Cincinnati and maybe a couple others that also have football. The ‘new’ ACC would be a nice conference, but not super, at least not in football. That’s not what the ACC faithful want, but I think that’s the most likely result.

    • See, I don’t view the conference’s dissolution as the most likely result. And honestly, no one else should either. It’s a result of operating under the assumption that teams want to leave the conference, which, frankly, is false. The conference is well-positioned at college football’s big boy table, and it’s not all that far behind the B1G (and soon, SEC) in terms of television revenue. Their contract must still be renegotiated with ESPN, meaning there’s even more money on the table for them. Folks forget that academic institutions are run by people, and people are very averse to change overall. No team will make a move unless they have to, and unlike Maryland, no one else in the ACC is in such dire financial straits that they need to move.

      In regards to your four superconferences of 16 teams, it doesn’t work. Anyone operating under that assumption right now (and there are a lot of people that are, for some reason), forget the way these conferences are constructed. The Pac-12 is locked out of expansion unless they go to the Big 12 — but the Big 12 teams are all tethered by a grant of rights, meaning their TV revenue stays with the Big 12 for the next 13 years. None of those teams are going anywhere, and if they (Texas, OU) did leave, there wouldn’t be a league worth joining left in their wake. The SEC’s only add options are schools from NC and VA, but they’re not really cultural fits (maybe NC State is?). The B1G, also, could add two teams from the ACC, though I don’t necessarily think they will right now. No point in splitting the pie into smaller pieces, which is all the ACC additions would do for them. The SEC stands to gain new markets and outstanding football programs from expansion — much more so than the B1G. The Big 12, on the other hand, has no desire to split revenues further either. Holding a title game also potentially prevents their league champion from getting to the playoff.

      As we’ve learned, further expansion’s not impossible. But I just don’t see it being possible in the format you laid out above. The 16-team superconferences theory is just not possible anymore, at least not without the ACC being one of them.

  10. I do think we’ll wind up with a national championship playoff controlled by the super conferences because the money will be too compelling for the conferences to pass up. Expansion isn’t so much about dividing the pie into smaller pieces – its about making the pie bigger for all, which is why the B1G added two schools that don’t seem to bring much football power, just large TV markets. Expansion also doesn’t necessarily have to result in 16 teams per conference, and the PAC 12 is the best example. They could stay at 12 if they deem no other program worthy, or go to 14 by adding BYU and Nevada, for instance, without touching Big 12 teams.

    I admit it’s possible that five big time conferences survive, rather than four, with both the Big 12 and ACC remaining, but I think that depends on three things:

    1. Will Florida State, et. al. be content to play ACC football? The rumors about the ACC started after Maryland moved to the B1G because Maryland and Florida State both voted against increasing the exit fee to $50 million. The speculation is that Florida State thinks its national football rep is being diminished by playing ACC teams. Regardless of what you think about that, the vote has lead to the rumor that Florida State would consider joining a conference that has a few more perennial football powers. Florida State is probably the top football program in the ACC and losing the top program would be devastating. It would make other big football programs think about leaving as well, even if they are not considering it seriously now. I couldn’t believe the Clemson to Big 12 rumor when I heard about it because Clemson is one of the core ACC members, but then again, so was Maryland. If Florida State leaves, it may start the final phase of realignment.

    2. Can Texas stop being Texas? Texas A&M went to the SEC because they were fed up with the “I am King” attitude of UT. I still can’t believe they did it. EVERYONE in Texas is either UT or A&M and while the brothers may fight it was inconceivable to me that they would split. The shock of A&M leaving may wake up UT. Texas still wants to be King, of course, which rules out a move of Texas, Tech, Okie and Okie State to the PAC 12 for now. Texas wants to be King of its own conference, but if Texas thinks about it, the Big 12 will be a much stronger conference if it can attract other top programs. Even stubborn Texans can recognize the tremendous value in adding Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami, which dramatically expands the Big 12′s reach into some of the top US TV and cable markets and expands their recruiting into some of the top recruiting areas (a much bigger pie for Big 12 members). I happen to like Texans, and, while they do have somewhat of a superiority complex, they ain’t dumb. I suspect Texas and the Big 12 welcome Florida State with open arms, lots of barbeque and several invitations to hand out to its friends.

    3. WWNDD (what will Notre Dame do)? The most logical thing for ND to do is join the B1G, and I think that will happen, but I’m not sure I put the odds much above 60%. I think there is a distinct possibility that the B1G doesn’t offer ND. ND is a ‘national’ brand that would make the B1G Network an incrementally stronger cable offering in all its markets, but would not really bring a strong presence in any new market. Everywhere the B1G network is not today, there is a strong local team whose fans far outnumber ND (e.g. USC, UCLA, Stanford etc. in the California market, LSU, Florida & Alabama in the southeast), After the B1G added Nebraska, I had Rutgers and Maryland on the short list for additional teams because of their TV markets, but frankly I thought Pitt and Syracuse were the favorites because they would create natural rivalries for Penn State. Now I know that Pitt will never join, because Penn St. won’t want another B1G school recruiting in PA. Syracuse is still a possibility, but it’s not part of the AAU academic group. Rutgers and Maryland are both AAU members and make sense as new additions because, as Delaney said during his news conference, the teams help get the B1G Network into two major TV markets and get the B1G into two new recruiting areas. ND brings neither to the table, and if the B1G had the opportunity to add UNC and Georgia Tech, I bet they would jump on it to get into the lucrative Atlanta and Charlotte TV markets and the southern football recruiting area.

    So what does ND do? I still think they will recognize that its time to join the B1G conference, particularly if any movement of ACC teams takes place and rumors of ACC instability persist. At various times, I’ve heard rumors that one or more of UVa, UNC, GTech are headed to the B1G, some combination of UNC, Duke, NC State are going to the SEC, and that Florida State, Clemson, Miami, GTech, VTech are all headed to the Big 12. The rumors are making the ACC sound like another Big East, just waiting for the big bang to occur.

    If I were in the ACC, I’d be camping out in front of ND’s door doing everything I could to get ND to become a full ACC member. I think that’s the ACC’s path to survival and five big-time conferences.

  11. Studies show that listening to classical music (such as the works of Mozart) have helped children and infants develop cognitive ability quicker than normal.. . Generally though, it’s not a good idea to listen to any loud music, including rock, rap, and hip-hop. Songs with a good beat will probably distract more than they’ll help you. Also, songs with lyrics tend to be more distracting than songs that are purely instrumental.. . This may not apply to everyone, but it certainly does to me.

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