The Atlantic Coast Conference is throwing its hat in the ring as conference realignment takes over college athletics.
The ACC Board of Directors voted Friday to admit Stanford, Cal and SMU as full members starting in the 2024-25 school year, the conference announced.
“We are thrilled to welcome three world-class institutions to the ACC, and we look forward to having them compete as part of our amazing league,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “Throughout the evaluation process, the ACC Board of Directors, led by President Ryan, was deliberate in prioritizing the best possible athletic and academic experience for our student-athletes and in ensuring that the three universities would strengthen the league in all possible ways.
“Cal, SMU and Stanford will be terrific members of the ACC and we are proud to welcome their student-athletes, coaches, staff and entire campus community, alumni and fans.”
The additions of Stanford and Cal to the ACC now means the Pac-12 conference has just two schools committed beyond the 2023-24 seasons – Washington State and Oregon State.
The preeminent West Coast conference has been decimated over the past month, losing eight schools one year after USC and UCLA announced their departure to the Big Ten.
Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado will join the Big 12 while USC, UCLA, Washington and Oregon will head to the Big Ten.
The two Bay Area schools were rumored to be in discussions regarding a move to the ACC over the past several weeks. Still, four schools – Clemson, North Carolina, Florida State and NC State – were against the additions three weeks ago in a straw poll, according to ESPN.
Cal and Stanford are expected to receive a 30% revenue share when they join and SMU is expected to get no broadcast revenue for the first nine years, per the ESPN report.
“Stanford welcomes the invitation extended by the ACC member universities, and we are excited to join them beginning in 2024,” said Stanford University President Richard P. Saller. “Student-athletes come to Stanford to pursue their highest academic and athletic potential, and joining the ACC gives us the ability to continue offering them that opportunity at a national level. We appreciate the dedicated efforts of Commissioner Jim Phillips and the leaders of the ACC member institutions to create this promising path forward.”
The ACC will now have 18 members, 17 of which will play football. Notre Dame plays as an independent.
Stanford and Cal will join a conference where 14 of the 16 other schools play in the Eastern Time Zone.
Increased travel for student-athletes has been a concern for many as former Pac-12 schools have joined conferences with most schools in the Midwest and the East Coast.
Following the departures of Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State from the Pac-12, Missouri Tigers head football coach Eli Drinkwitz questioned whether the decisions were made with the best interest of the student-athletes in mind.
“Look, my question is, did we count the cost? I’m not talking about a financial cost. I’m talking about did we count the cost for the student-athletes involved in this decision? What cost is it to those student-athletes?” Drinkwitz asked in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“We’re talking about a football decision — they based it off football — but what about softball and baseball [teams] who have to travel cross-country? Do we ask about the cost of them? Do we know what the No. 1 indicator or symptom or cause of mental health is? It’s lack of rest and sleep.”
“Traveling in those baseball/softball games, those people, they travel commercial, and they get done playing at 4 [p.m.] They got to go to the airport, they come back, it’s 3 or 4 in the morning. They got to go to class. I mean, did we ask any of them? Are we going to look back … ?”
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report