The always intriguing conference expansion conversation erupted again this week when news of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten surfaced. That left Virginia fans wondering what’s next for the Hoos. Many other fanbases are having similar discussions too.
The USC and UCLA move from the Pac 12 is planned for 2024, which will grow the Big Ten to 16 members if and when it is finalized. This comes on the heels of the last shuffle when Texas and Oklahoma decided to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, a move that also will take place in 2024. That pushes the SEC to 16 teams as well.
With those two conferences growing both in size and in financial projections for member schools, it puts the spotlight on the widening money gap between the SEC and Big Ten compared to the Pac 12, Big 12, and ACC. The Big 12 added BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and Central Florida beginning in 2023. Are other expansions or contractions likely following the latest news? The Big 12 and Pac 12 could merge or poach schools. The Big Ten could take on more schools potentially to add to western expansion.
For the ACC, the league could consider trying to bring teams in to the fold. Where does Notre Dame fit into that? The conference schools signed a Grant of Rights media pact that allowed the ACC to maintain their media rights through 2036 even when a member left. There’s also a clause in the Notre Dame agreement that states the Irish must join the ACC if they join any conference through 2036.
Speculation and message board chatter centers around those pieces of the puzzle mostly. Could a group of schools exit together and try to bust the Grant of Rights agreement? Could the Big Ten or SEC make offers where the Grant of Rights monetary loss doesn’t matter? If the ACC expands, does that change the Grant of Rights agreement and make the league vulnerable to defections anyway? And on and on it goes.
Back to Virginia fans. The conversation there surrounds what boils down to three choices. Should UVA stay in the ACC? Should the Hoos bolt for the Big Ten or the SEC? Will Virginia shift its focus altogether if the pendulum swings too far with rules, money, and allowances for athletics?
Here’s a poll for Wahoo fans to see what you think. Vote, discuss on the message boards, and then check out the rest of the weekly selections.
Fan(s) Of The Week
Rocking the No. 12 worn by Joe Harris and De’Andre Hunter among others is one way to cheer on the Hoos.
Student Fan(s) Of The Week
Students help bring energy to Scott Stadium on the hill.
Feature Photo Of The Week
Ty Furnish blocks during the Virginia Spring Game. The offensive line competition entering 2022 is one of the spots to watch this preseason.