Sep 1, 2023 - Sports

ACC expands to the Pacific with Stanford, Cal and SMU

ACC proposed expansion, 2024-25
Data: Axios Research; Graphic: Rahul Mukherjee and Erin Davis/Axios; Note: Notre Dame is independent for football.

The Atlantic Coast Conference will include teams on both the East and West Coasts: It voted on Friday to add Stanford, California and SMU as new members next school year.

Why it matters: Conference realignment is drastically reshaping the college sports landscape and pushing student-athletes to travel vast distances for games.

  • The ACC will join the Big Ten as one of two college sports conferences that have member schools on both coasts.

Driving the news: The additions will expand its membership to 18, including 17 schools that will play football in the conference full time.

  • These will be the conference's first new members since Louisville joined in 2014.

Between the lines: Stanford and Cal's joining the ACC is a major blow to the Pac-12 Conference, which will have just two remaining programs: Washington State and Oregon State.

  • Other Pac-12 members are departing for either the Big 10 or the Big 12 Conference starting in 2024.

By the numbers: The furthest distance between two ACC members — Boston College and Stanford — will be nearly 2,700 miles.

  • The average distance between the colleges currently in the ACC is approximately 886 miles, Axios' Erin Davis notes.
  • With the new schools, the average grows to 2,070 miles.

The big picture: The ACC has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in recent fiscal years. But it's still far behind the Big Ten and the SEC.

  • The gap between the Big Ten, the SEC and everyone else is expected to widen even further after a series of major media deals were signed.

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