Monday, the ACC announced it had signed a Grant of Rights with its 15 member schools.
"This announcement further highlights the continued solidarity and commitment by our member institutions," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "The Council of Presidents has shown tremendous leadership in insuring the ACC is extremely well positioned with unlimited potential."
"The ACC has long been a leader in intercollegiate athletics, both academically and athletically," said the collective ACC Council of Presidents. "Collectively, we all agree the grant of rights further positions the ACC and its current and future member schools as one of the nation's premier conferences."
With the constant shuffling of schools into new conferences over the last couple of years, ACC commissioner John Swofford put this Grant of Rights into play. He was looking for approval from the Council of Presidents. From there, after consulting with their respective legal counsel, all 15 member schools approved of the motion.
Included in this Grant of Rights, a 14-year media deal that basically locks all schools in to the future of the conference with some increased revenue. With this new Grant of Rights, it becomes less feasible to bolt the ACC for a new conference. It's something Swofford put into action, and according to Pitt AD Steve Pederson, was something all the member schools were willing to listen to, and eventually sign on to.
All 15 institutions have signed a Grant of Rights, giving the ACC rights to media for 14 years," Pederson said. "It's a great day for the University of Pittsburgh. It further solidifies what is a solid conference. With all the speculation whether one school or another might leave, it's a very ublic statement that we're all committed to this, bound to this. I think it' tremendous of our future."
Keep in mind, Pitt has yet to play one single contest as an ACC member. However, in the time that Pitt has joined--all the way back to September of 2011--schools such as Notre Dame and Louisville have joined the conference. Not to mention, late last week, the ACC announced opponent schedules for football for 2014 to 2016. A big part of that for Pitt is getting a Notre Dame home game in 2015, with the possibility of continuing the Notre Dame series as early as 2018.
Every institution has looked at this, and we feel very strongly that we're put in a great position," Pederson added. "It's really the key to everything. In this case, everybody has to be on board. If you want to be part of media contract, be part of it. Everybody felt well about it. Everybody was committed to it. We have to do something that everyone feels we're together.
The commissioner spearheaded it. I give John Swofford so much credit in this. He put the coalition to get this done, a lot of explanation to get this done. John spent countless hours to get an agreement. The key has been John working to get this done with the legal counsel of each school. We're all appreciative to John in his leadership through all this."
Other conferences, such as the Big 12, have similar arrangements.
"I think what you have to look at, the five power conferences have solidified themselves for at least a decade and a half, all of them with a Grant of Media rights," Pederson added. "Everybody is in a solid position going forward. You know you're in a conference that is committed."
Again, while Pitt has yet to play an ACC contest, perhaps the school is already taking advantage of being affiliated with the ACC name. For example, Pitt's softball game was televised on ESPN3 this past weekend. This coming weekend, Pitt's baseball team will have it's games televised on ESPNU.
It might not be the main revenue sports such as football or basketball, but these are just two of Pitt's athletic programs benefiting from some early exposure, and an example of what a Grant of Rights like this means for its future in the ACC. By joining the conference as Pitt did a year and a half ago, they're reaping the benefits ahead of schedule. These recent moves set forth by the conference also show the interest in keeping everyone together for the long haul.
"When we made this decision, it was three-fold," Pederson said. "One was to align ourselves with outstanding academic institutes along the eastern seaboard, from Boston to Miami. Then, it was to provide top-level competition. No one has done that more effectively than ACC. Third, to provide the financial aspect stabilizes for our teams going forward. Today's announcement solidifies that. Things like today enhance what we wanted to have happen, and that is all the good things about joining the ACC."