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Awful Announcing: Did ESPN try to help recruit Big Ten schools to the ACC?


MattFancy

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http://www.awfulannouncing.com/2014/january/did-espn-try-to-help-recruit-big-ten-schools-to-the-acc.html

 


The University of Maryland has filed a $157 million dollar countersuit against the ACC as the posturing continues over the school's departure for the Big Ten. Amidst all the suits and countersuits and eye-rolling puffing of chests are a few interesting nuggets about the ruthless game of conference realignment.

Specifically, the Maryland countersuit brings to light the ACC's alleged attempt to poach two unnamed Big Ten schools to their conference. And who was allegedly involved in this recruitment attempt?

ESPN, the kingmaker of college athletics.

The Washington Post has more details on the countersuit including ESPN's role in "counsel and direction" for the ACC in its quest for adding teams.

According to Maryland’s countersuit, a representative from Wake Forest and a representative from Pittsburgh “each contacted a Big Ten university in an attempt by the ACC to recruit at least two Big Ten schools to leave the Big Ten and join the ACC.” Maryland alleges that “these actions by the ACC were designed by the ACC to enable the ACC (and member universities) to extract more lucrative terms from potential broadcast partners, including from ESPN,” which provided “counsel and direction.”

 

Seems really shady of ESPN if true...

 

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How can it not be true?

 

ESPN allegedly (I added that word in for you who aren't convinced of the evils of ESPN) conspired with/supported the ACC to raid/break up the Big East several times over the past 15 years. 

 

Well in the article I posted, it mentions that the Big East wouldn't agree to a new deal with ESPN. BC's President even says that ESPN had a role in getting Pitt and Syracuse to join.

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One can hope that Fox and CBS sports channels can grow enough to eventually lessen the suck that comes out of Bristol.

 

I just wish 60 minutes or someone would do an in depth expose on the shananigans that happen in Bristol (especially the repeated sexual harassment that they big names there are getting away with).

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One can hope that Fox and CBS sports channels can grow enough to eventually lessen the suck that comes out of Bristol.

 

I just wish 60 minutes or someone would do an in depth expose on the shananigans that happen in Bristol (especially the repeated sexual harassment that they big names there are getting away with).

I simply cannot watch espn anymore. Something as simple as sportscenter is essentially ruined by their over the top non-sense. This morning they spent 10 minutes making excuses as to why the heat lost to the Wizards last night. Every other show on that channel has someone yelling at me for the duration. Who watches this mess?

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I simply cannot watch espn anymore. Something as simple as sportscenter is essentially ruined by their over the top non-sense. This morning they spent 10 minutes making excuses as to why the heat lost to the Wizards last night. Every other show on that channel has someone yelling at me for the duration. Who watches this mess?

 

I've been watching more FS1 lately. The only shows I watch on ESPN are Fantasy Football Now and 30 for 30. I honestly can't tell you the last time I watched NFL Live or Baseball Tonight, 2 shows I used to love. Even Around the Horn and PTI are tough to watch anymore.

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while tech is making access and information available within seconds, its the dark ages of sports coverage and announcing. ESPN has an interest in keeping the ACC alive. Right now on their current course, the ACC won't exist through the length of their deal with ESPN. FSU and Clemson bolt as expected, the ACC will have to reconstitute like the Big East. Into mostly a hoops conference. Then ESPN will probably cancel their deal.

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while tech is making access and information available within seconds, its the dark ages of sports coverage and announcing. ESPN has an interest in keeping the ACC alive. Right now on their current course, the ACC won't exist through the length of their deal with ESPN. FSU and Clemson bolt as expected, the ACC will have to reconstitute like the Big East. Into mostly a hoops conference. Then ESPN will probably cancel their deal.

 

They aren't going anywhere now. Maybe this time last year there was a chance, but that was a little overblown. And they are not moving any time soon.

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while tech is making access and information available within seconds, its the dark ages of sports coverage and announcing. ESPN has an interest in keeping the ACC alive. Right now on their current course, the ACC won't exist through the length of their deal with ESPN. FSU and Clemson bolt as expected, the ACC will have to reconstitute like the Big East. Into mostly a hoops conference. Then ESPN will probably cancel their deal.

 

I don't see anyone leaving the ACC now. I don't think the SEC is looking to add anyone else, so unless the Big 12 wanted FSU and Clemson, I don't see them going anywhere. The ACC is definitely a basketball first conference, but is improving in football. FSU and Clemson have been top teams in the country the last few years. Miami looks to be back on the rise and Va Tech will always be hanging around. Louisville is a little less attractive of an add without Strong and Bridgewater, but they're still a solid team. Plus, don't forget about Notre Dame playing more ACC teams next year now too. That should definitely help.

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If Maryland pays only a fraction of the ACC's ridiculous and clearly punitive $51M sum, and if the ACC/ESPN story grows legs in the meantime, then I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear renewed buzz about FSU and Clemson bolting to bring the SEC up to 16 schools.

 

The SEC has said they're good with 14 teams. And a lot of other people have said a lot of other things in college conference alignment too.  Much of it either was BS or was only true at the time it was said. FSU and Clemson would be excellent additions.

 

Grant of rights agreements seem to be universally viewed as conference expansion's one truly immovable object. Yet the ACC/ESPN were talking with Penn State and one other school (oh, yes, allegedly of course) about leaving the Big Ten, which has its own grant of rights agreement with all member schools.  If these clandestine overtures did happen, then either the ACC is run by the world's biggest Bojangles-fueled morons or these agreements are not as ironclad as they appear.

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The Big Ten's exit fee is $0.  If anybody really wanted to bolt it would've been very easy.

 

I suspect Northwestern was one of the schools that the ACC tried to woo, given that: a) the AD used to work in the Notre Dame athletic department; B) it's a private school and FOIA things don't come into play with those sorts of informal discussions; c) Chicago is a pretty strong recruiting ground for football/basketball; d) the school will likely continue to be a misfit in the Big Ten (most Wildcat home games are filled with Chicago-land alumni of their opponents)

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What exactly $ wise does Northwestern bring to the TV sports deal?

 

Theoretically, the enormous Chicago television marketplace.   But not really, because no one in Chicago cares about Northwestern football.  They are all fans of Notre Dame, Illinois or Michigan.  

 

The B1G is trying to get into the New York TV marketplace by adding Rutgers, but that isn't going to work either.  People in New York not only don't care about Rutgers football, they don't care about any college football at all.  

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The Big Ten's exit fee is $0.  If anybody really wanted to bolt it would've been very easy.

 

Good point.  And the B1G's grant of rights lasts as long as their TV deal, which I now recall is actually up for renewal in 2016. So a school like State Penn would be walking away from a year or two of rights, tops. Expensive but not the end of the world, especially if the same network (ESPN) has the rights for both conferences and is willing to smooth out the transition.

 

However.

 

Once that window closes, your rights are locked up for at least a decade.  And if you did leave for the ACC, the only thing you end up with is substantially less money paid out by your new conference than you had in your old one.  And you're locked in there, with no conference-oriented network of your own and less money, for (presumably) a very long time.  Nonsensical.

 

ESPN clearly is interested in bolstering the ACC so it approaches the financial strength of the B1G and SEC, so I don't see them greasing the skids for an ACC-to-SEC move for FSU or Clemson. But they aren't the only force at work.

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I like how DC is, in theory, a good Tv market. But the ACC couldn't even bother to show Maryland football on a local channel here. Nope. I've seen more UNC or Wake Forest games on local tv. Hell, I've seen more Towson Football on tv this year than Terps football.

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The B1G is trying to get into the New York TV marketplace by adding Rutgers, but that isn't going to work either.  People in New York not only don't care about Rutgers football, they don't care about any college football at all.  

 

True, but you can't tell that to certain Rutgers fans.  They'll dig up a picture of the Empire State Building when it got lit up in red for Rutgers once, and then claim the city as home territory.

 

A similar thing happened when the ACC added BC in search of the Boston TV market, 7th largest in the nation (and also in search of Miami's agreement to join up).  Of course there is only one college sport in Boston, and that is hockey, and it only matters once per year.  Oops!

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There is supposedly a "gentleman's agreement" in the SEC among Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida that votes as a block to keep out any potential conference additions from those states. 

 

Yep, I was going to bring that up. From what I have heard, that does exist. South Carolina does not want Clemson in the SEC and Florida does not want Florida State. It's a recruiting advantage and they want to be the only SEC team in the state. 

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