Sources: Notre Dame Pushing for ACC to Add Stanford, Cal; SMU Would Join Without Revenue

Sources: Notre Dame Pushing for ACC to Add Stanford, Cal; SMU Would Join Without Revenue article feature image

Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: The ACC and Notre Dame logos on a pylon.

Notre Dame, an ACC member in every sport but football, is pushing for the ACC to add Stanford and Cal, while SMU told the ACC the Mustangs would not require any league revenue for the first 5-7 years after joining, sources told Action Network.

“Notre Dame initiated us bringing on Stanford and Cal and continues to push, yet Notre Dame won’t join the ACC as a full-time member,” an ACC source said. “That doesn’t make sense to us.”

Notre Dame’s push to add Stanford and Cal was first reported by Tiger Illustrated’s Larry Williams.

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While Notre Dame continues to try and build support for Stanford and Cal, SMU is trying a unique approach to move from the American to the ACC. The Mustangs said they would not require any league revenue for the first 5-7 years upon joining.

The ACC’s revenue from TV rights, College Football Playoff, bowl games, NCAA Tournament units and other sources is at least $42 million. So, the Mustangs, even at a reduced amount, would be bypassing potentially $150 million over a five-year span.

“What SMU showed us is they would require zero (in league revenue),” a source said. “That’s a long-term play for them. They think if they can get in a Power 5 conference, then it’s not a bad play thinking 30 years down the road instead of one or two years from now like most universities think.

“They have the pockets to do it.”

The Mustangs would receive a full ACC share by 2030, a source said. Upon joining, Stanford and Cal would receive a reduced share — about 70% of what the ACC schools currently receive.

ESPN will provide the ACC pro-rata for any expansion additions, meaning it would pay the ACC $33-35 million for each new member. It's the ACC’s decision how the revenue not provided to Stanford, Cal and SMU would be distributed.

Even with the league holding part of the incoming schools' revenues and distributing it to their other members, it wouldn’t be viewed as a significant difference after being split between 15 members because of additional travel concerns.

The increased travel for the ACC members is one of the biggest drawbacks of adding Stanford and Cal — and possibly SMU — a source said.

“Financially, for all of our schools, it’s probably a wash because of increased travel,” another source said.

ACC presidents have a meeting scheduled for Wednesday night to discuss expansion further, and no vote was taken, a source said. The league requires approval from 12 of the 15 presidents (75%) to add any new members.

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