UConn and the ACC


I wanted to pass along a link to a story about comments from Connecticut’s new athletic director, Warde Manuel, about his school’s positioning in the Big East. Kind of intriguing.

The Hartford Courant article also reported that sources have a 16-team model in place with its first choices being Notre Dame and UConn, but that there is no rush to add them. I don’t think this exactly ranks as a stunner; this has been suggested previously.

What I found interesting was part of an answer Manuel gave about realignment.

“All in all, looking at this institution it doesn’t matter what conference we are going to be in. We are going to be dominant and continue to strive to represent this institution and this great state.”

Typically, the stock answer is “We love being a part of Conference X and plan to be here for a long time,” even if the school has one foot out the door. Saying that it doesn’t matter what conference UConn is in isn’t necessarily a tacit admission that it’s ready to leave, but it isn’t a hearty endorsement of the Big East, either. This is not relevant, but what’s with “We are going to be dominant” talk? It sounds like he took a speech class taught by Ivan Drago.

The story and issue reminded me of a presentation athletic director Dan Radakovich gave to media members last month, the same one he had given to the biggest donors to the athletic department except without fancy hors d’oeuvres and people with money.

One slide of the PowerPoint showed the TV money going to members of ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC in 2011.

Big 10 – $22 million

Pac-12 – $19 million

SEC – $18 million

Big 12 – $16 million

ACC – $14 million

The next slide was a projection that took into account Pitt and Syracuse joining the ACC and the Pac-12 and SEC adding their own networks.

SEC – $30 million

Pac-12 – $25 million

Big 10 – $22 million

ACC – $17 million

Big 12 – $16 million

That projection means ACC schools would be getting 56 percent of what SEC schools are making off their television contract, and that’s not counting the differences in revenues in tickets and the like. Obviously, it would become increasingly difficult for the ACC to compete with its neighbors, however much that’s part of the league’s goal.

Radakovich’s comment: “This is a future that certainly causes some questions as it relates to the Atlantic Coast Conference and how we need to continue to be aggressive as we look at television and other revenue opportunities. This is a good picture for us. It shows that we are gathering significant resources from our relationship within the Atlantic Coast Conference, but it certainly says we have some continued work to do.”

Radakovich, who isn’t given to putting himself out on a limb, sounds like someone who is voicing a conference-wide concern. Unless John Swofford starts winning Powerball on an annual basis (that slide was left out of the presentation), the two most obvious possibilities for the “continued work” Radakovich suggested are a network or more members. I suppose for Notre Dame, the decision becomes easier if it can make considerably more in a conference than it does as an independent. The school’s contract with NBC reportedly pays about $15 million annually, and runs through 2015.

Obviously, the Big Ten would seem the most logical fit for Notre Dame. A couple links to articles from the Chicago Tribune about Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney from last fall, here and here. If that were the case, you’d think, UConn and Rutgers would seem to make some sense for the ACC, unless Notre Dame joined the Big Ten with Rutgers. I’m not sure who would join with Connecticut in that scenario. That would put the ACC in kind of a pickle. It doesn’t seem like there’s any obvious plums after that. I don’t think expansion will happen soon. But I tend to think it’ll happen eventually.

43 comments Add your comment


February 15th, 2012
12:11 pm


February 15th, 2012
12:12 pm

I think it would be a great idea to add Notre Dame and UCONN in the near future.


February 15th, 2012
12:16 pm

Notre Dame and Penn State would be on my dream list for the ACC. Who in the world would want Rutgers and UConn? Neither of them would add anything to the ACC… once Calhoun is gone, UConn basketball will go with him.


February 15th, 2012
12:28 pm

UConn would have to fire Coach Calhoun before they are ever allowed in any other conference.

I would rather have S Florida, C Florida (Huge school, big TV market), Rutgers, Penn St, St Johns, East Carolina.

Also ACC will work new deal with Fox/FX/Fox Regional worth more then ACC – $17 million projected from ABC/ESPN. That’s why they are not pushing expansion.


February 15th, 2012
12:32 pm

I think GTGreg is dead on. UConn is going to fade away when Jim Calhoun moves on and their football program has peaked. Take Notre Dame and Penn State. PSU desperately needs to start anew on all fronts. And lets not be too quick to judge. The ugliness surrounding Sandusky could have happened anywhere, but its not a reflection on PSU as a whole. String that pervert up by his cojones and let Penn State start anew in the ACC with NotreDame. Then you have something that could put the ACC over the top as far as buildibng a TV network.


February 15th, 2012
12:42 pm

I too would like to see ND and Penn St. be part of the ACC. They fit educationally and somewhat geographically (PSU obviously more than ND). UCONN doesn’t fit educationally. But I also agree with BTTF, new deal with Fox is going to get more $, so no additional expansion is being pushed as yet. It will be 2015 before anything happens. Of course that will be here before we know it.

George Stein

February 15th, 2012
1:02 pm

This is good reporting. Thanks, Ken.

I think the easiest way to go about acquiring more revenues is to form a network and charge $3/month per subscriber. Stick one Duke-Carolina hoops game on there and watch the subscribers go through the roof.

Delbert D.

February 15th, 2012
1:17 pm

Joe Paterno is gone. What is Penn State’s future? Paterno replaced a legend in Rip Engle. Will O’Brien become a legend, or will there be a succession of mediocre coaches? I would think that when Calhoun retires, UConn will be a plum basketball head coaching job.job

Delbert D.

February 15th, 2012
1:18 pm

I do agree that UConn doesn’t have the academic credentials of other ACC schools.

5150 UOAD

February 15th, 2012
1:34 pm

We need to really work Notre Dame. They fit the ACC culture. If we can get ND and their TV fan base I wouldn’t worry about what other team we could pull. With ND another major player in the NE would be happy to come with. We have Pitt so Penn St would be the best bet.

Delbert D.

February 15th, 2012
1:43 pm

51 – State College, Pennsysylvania is further East than all ACC schools except Maryland and Boston College. Notre Dame is further East than Pensacola, Florida, and further South than Boston.

Delbert D.

February 15th, 2012
1:58 pm

Notre Dame and Penn State are in the Eastern Time Zone, along with all ACC schools.

In the SEC, 8 of the schools are in the Central Time Zone.

Ken Sugiura

February 15th, 2012
2:03 pm

UConn’s potential post-Calhoun is worth considering. good point.
perhaps i’m missing something, but i don’t see why Penn State would leave the Big Ten. i acknowledge the school needs a new start, but i don’t think that joining a new conference solves that problem. what happened there had anything to do with its conference affiliation.

Delbert D.

February 15th, 2012
2:17 pm

Ken, that’s just wishful thinking about Penn State. In the past, they have had good football rivalries with Maryland and Syracuse along with Pitt. When I lived in northern NJ in the late ’60s, the New York City major football coverage was Notre Dame, along with the AP and UPI reports. In southern NJ from ‘75-’80, Penn State and Temple got most of the coverage in the Philadelphia press, and some for Pitt, as well. Basketball coverage was entirely different, with the Big 5 in Philly being predominant.


February 15th, 2012
2:42 pm

What happens if Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, and the Big Ten begins courting Tech for the valuable Atlanta market?

Would Tech bite if such a scenario played out?

I think Tech would then join the Big Ten as it benefits Tech from both a financial and prestigious academic perspective.

5150 UOAD

February 15th, 2012
3:16 pm

Tom B…No it doesn’t benefit TECH & the Big 10. Tech doesn’t Travel that well. The Big 10 full schedule wouldn’t bring in anymore money that way. If say it were Notre Dame and Penn St. to the ACC Tech fans would make that trip. I am not sure Syracuse and Pitt will not see many Tech fans at those games if the game is played past the 2nd week in October.


February 15th, 2012
4:07 pm

In the end Notre Dame and Penn St would be the best fit for ACC.
I Think Penn St would do it if ND would but not sure if ND will commit to any conference.

Penn St is out of place in Big 10, Okay location for Ohio St, Mich, Mich St, but all other teams are west and not in major markets where their fans are.
Penn State made it know if Big 10 expanded it needed to go East to give them natural rivals, Cuse, Pitt, Rutgers, etc. But Big 10 went way west adding Nebraska.

As for fan travel They have the 3 teams close OSU, Mich, Mich St, but in ACC you would have the NC teams (Wake, UNC, NC St, Duke) at equal distant, then add Pitt Syracuse, Maryland, BC, Va Tech, UVa that are even closer.


February 15th, 2012
4:10 pm

5150 UOAD…. I agree about Tech not traveling well, but I disagree about it not favoring Tech financially. The Big Ten with GT and Notre Dame would be bringing in SEC dollars to the conference. And, though GT doesn’t travel well, the Big Ten does. The Atlanta area alone is full of big Ten graduates which imo would equal potential sellouts at Bobby Dodd stadium. And, you are missing the most important piece to this conference change at least to Tech… academic prestige. All Big Ten schools with the exception of Nebraska are AAU Universities, and you can’t underestimate the importance of this to GT. It’s much more important than you might think.

5150 UOAD

February 15th, 2012
4:30 pm

TomB I really understand the AAU. I also understand most southern kids not wanting to play in the freaking cold so much. HAHAH I think staying in the ACC and adding ND and PSU helps our recruiting more than their recruiting. Tech going to the Big 10 hurts our recruiting. IMO

Tokyo jacket

February 15th, 2012
4:38 pm

Ken, the reason Penn St would leave the Big 10 is because they never really liked it there. The Big 10 committed to adding closer members to State College when they joined, it hasn’t. Penn State’s longest gameday commute in the ACC (Chestnut Hill) would be about the same as its shortest commute in the Big10/11/12/? (Columbus).

I think the only way the ACC remains competitive in football is for either ND and PSU to join the ACC or for some form of reform to happen in college football. The bottom line is that money fuels college football and the fact that the SEC has the past 6 national champions is a direct reflection of this.

Supersize that order, mutt

February 15th, 2012
5:52 pm

Ken, are you checking on the rampant rumors that Johnson is hiring Friedgen as the QB coach at Tech?


February 15th, 2012
7:09 pm

I see two benefits for Penn State to Penn State joining the ACC. One, it’s a symbolic restart Two, it restablishes many of Penn State’s traditional rivalries such as ND, Pitt, Syracuse, Maryland and Miami. PSU-VaTech is a natural. Penn State has yet to establish a real rival in teh Big Ten since no one in the Bid Ten considers Penn State its primary rival. And the benefit to the ACC is obvious. I think the ACC becomes the 2nd strongest football conference with ND & PSU.


February 15th, 2012
7:10 pm

Not using the spell checker obviously…

Tokyo jacket

February 15th, 2012
7:34 pm

What’s this about Fridge? You’ve got to be joking?!?!?!

5150 UOAD

February 15th, 2012
7:43 pm

Tokyo go to the ALL Academic blog

Tokyo jacket

February 15th, 2012
7:46 pm

Yup, just saw it over there. Wow! Huge!


February 15th, 2012
8:34 pm

Based on enrollment, stadium, and fan base sizes, Penn State and Notre Dame would be out of place in the ACC. Penn State would be better off in the B1G, with much better potential for revenue. Notre Dame will stay independent until its TV contract is up for renewal.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

February 15th, 2012
9:58 pm

Good blog, lots of good arguments. Kinda funny how the article is about UConn but all anyone wants to talk about is PSU and ND. I tend to agree with GFJacket, I think it’s unlikely to get ND-would they give up their traditional games with USC and Mich and others. Nah. Penn St would make more sense with more traditional rivals, I just hope they’ve had enough of trying to compete with Ohio St. Uconn is a more typical ACC school in an athetic sense. My picks are PSU and Uconn, and since I live in CT at least I could see a few games live that way.

not happening

February 15th, 2012
10:30 pm

UConn and Rutgers joining up..Whoopty friggin do..wow Same feelings I have for Pitt and the Accused only worse,

Now that GT’s bb program is completely demolished, I wish the Jackets would get out of the ACC and join another conference, the one with Notre Dame in it..Let’s play


February 15th, 2012
11:10 pm

I don’t know why Notre Dame to the B1G is obviously the most likely scenario. There is already one Indiana school in that conference, so it doesn’t really get them anything. The ACC, however, is a good fit academically, and will include some of ND’s current Big East comrades. It would expand the footprint of the conference, making it a financially profitable move for the conference. That, in turn, would make it even more attractive for ND. Personally, I think the most likely scenario is ND and either PSU or UConn to the ACC.

Supersize that order, mutt

February 15th, 2012
11:16 pm

GTALUM, there are already TWO Indiana schools in the B1G—-Indiana U. and Purdue


February 15th, 2012
11:24 pm

Academics are not an issue for Uconn. Uconn would clearly be in the upper half in that regard. Connecticut is a rich, classy state with NO professional sports. Great addition.

The University of Connecticut is one of the top 20 national public research universities in the nation, according to the annual rankings produced by U.S. News & World Report.

#2 UVA
#5 UNC
#7 GT
#17 MD


February 15th, 2012
11:26 pm

Penn State and ND to the ACC ONLY happens IF ESPN wants it to happend by putting together a TV deal that they could not refuse. What’s in it for ESPN? A TON of exposure in the NY TV market. Remember a ton of ND fans in NYC.

I don’t think this happens, however, and if the ACC is forced to go to 16, the basketball driven ACC commissioner will ’settle’ for Rutgers (an AAU school w/35,000 students and a new state footprint in NJ) and Uconn

Birmingham Jacket

February 16th, 2012
8:25 am

The ACC sucks at football, and that is hurting us in recruiting. Nobody with any sense gives a crap about basketball or “Olympic Sports” as Dumb-Braine used to say.

D-Rad needs to get us to The Big 10.

ACC Realignment

February 16th, 2012
11:57 am

Notre Dame is an improvement. UCONN is settling. We can definitely do better than UCONN!!!

The New ACC

February 16th, 2012
12:17 pm

Why isn’t an ACC network discussed? There are enough year-round sports and also enough fans to have a seperate ACC network. Plus, it would be very profitable.

Why Uconn???

February 16th, 2012
1:23 pm

Why expand??? Why Uconn???. Would Uconn and Rutgers bring in excessive revenue to make it worthwhile for the other ACC schools, or just dilute the pool of cash to be split by 2 more teams???

We need a network, not Uconn. Uconn is only a candidate for the ACC by their own self promotion and dreams. Connecticut is a small market. Cuse and BC have New York and Boston covered. The Uconn football team is down the toilet, and it looks like Calhoun is in his last days and leaves behind his legacy of NCAA sanctions and APR grade issues where the b-ball team will not even be eligible to compete in the NCAA tourney in 2013.

Adding Uconn and Rutgers would be foolish and detrimental to the quality of ACC play, not to mention the budget.

Tech Forever

February 16th, 2012
1:29 pm

First, most of this was reported to Ken via email 2 months ago so it’s nice to see it getting “confirmed”.

Second, the $15 Million figure above for ND is their NBC $$$ AND the BE basketball money combined. ND’s TV contract with NBC pays them $9 million a year and is easy to find on the web. This is important because of the state of ND football. NBC has not be shy about voicing their displeasure in the pathetic rating ND football games draw and renegotiating into the $11+ million area is not likely. I see ND HAVING to move into a conference in order to compete in football.

So, which conference. ND other than playing games has no ties to the Big 10….at all. 80+% of ND grads live in the NY, DC, and Boston markets making their fanbase as well as academics much more aligned with the ACC. Plus they put significantly greater importance on non-basketball female athletics (field hockey, soccer, etc.) than do the Big 10 schools which aligns them even greater with the UNC and UVAs of the world. If ND does move to a conference, which I see is inevitable, I’d be shocked if it weren’t the ACC.

As for UCONN….man, who knows. I do know Swofford’s goal is to dominate the east coast basketball market and kick the Big East out of Manhattan. ND fits in line with this goal as they’ll dirve tons of fans to their road games once in the ACC. In fact I once attended an ND vs St. John’s game in MSG and the crowd was easily 50/50. Of the other schools having a viable football program only UCONN in that regions comes close to meeting this goal so my guess is that will be the commissioners first choice with rutgers a distant second.

Keep in mind that with our latest expansion Swofford was basically making a public statement ala Delaney in that he has no intention of trying to compete with the SEC on the football field. Like the Big 10 moving forward with their decisions that will only become more and more of a reality.


February 17th, 2012
8:40 am

Power Point slide-shows won’t change a d@mn thing for many/most ACC Schools (F$U, Klimpson, Miami, VT being the exceptions) !

The PROBLEM with many/most ACC Schools is that they don’t “connect” with the Communities in which they are a part of, this is especially true for GT.

If you spend 99% of your time looking down your noses at the rest of the world AND the local communities in which your school resides, then don’t expect packed stadiums, great TV ratings, and heavy Merchandising revenues.

Many/most PAC-12 & B1G-TEN schools have the same great Academics that the ACC Schools & GT have ,but they still don’t have any problem connecting with “the Common Man” that also loves to follow CFB.

Basically the ACC schools have burned so many bridges over such a LONG TIME I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to seriously compete in the new CFB Marketplace in this new Media Era of College Sports.

The ACC model is perfect for 50-60 years ago, but in this new Media Era of College Sports it is doomed to fail.

All the smug, elitist talk of Elite Academics is the very same thing that will DOOM the ACC and keep the ACC from keeping up with the other conferences in the near future.

A $5 to $10 million gap in TV revenues over a 5-10 year time frame will relegate the ACC to bottom-tier 2nd Class Citizenship Among AQ conferences.

The worst part about it, is that the ACC has no one to blame but themselves, ask yourself WHEN is the last time that GT and the GTAA has tried to do anything to make itself more connected to the Metro Atlanta Area?

The mentality of GT is that the GTAA will be OK without any “connection” to the Metro Atlanta Area and can RELY ONLY ON GT ALUMS and extended family already connected to the the School.

Now compare that to the way that a UGA or a Michigan or a Penn State connects with their entire STATES.

The smug, elitist attitudes of GT & the ACC will be it’s downfall.


February 17th, 2012
12:18 pm

The ACC needs to add Notre Dame, which belongs much more in an east coast conference with multiple private schools than it does in the Big Ten. The other school the ACC needs to add is Navy. ND has played Navy more times that it has any school, and ND will play Navy annually regardless of conference affiliations. Navy in the ACC may be a requirement to get ND on board.

Freddie Blassie

February 18th, 2012
9:31 am

To hell with Notre Dame. They wanted to keep all the bucks from their TV contract so let them live with it.

The kicker

February 18th, 2012
9:35 am

is WnE and the term “smug”. You can find the definition of “smug” in the mirror WnE.

Italian Stallion

February 22nd, 2012
1:33 pm

My name is Drago. I am fighter from Soviet Union. I fight all my life and I never lose. Soon I fight Rocky Balboa. Soon whole world will know my name.