Fan Friday: Here We Go Again

Another impending summer, another round of conference realignment talks. At this point, it’s become as reliable a part of college athletics conversations as a Fast and Furious sequel hitting theaters.

So what does that mean for Virginia fans? Realignment always centers on three options when it comes to UVA’s place in the college sports world. Stay in the ACC, go to the Big Ten, or go to the SEC. Each presents something a fan might like or dislike.

For the ACC, the questions right now swirl around the annual payout each school receives through media contracts and other revenue streams compared to the SEC and Big Ten, who have created a massive gap relative to other college conferences through new TV deals and expansion. ACC schools have a Grant Of Rights agreement that runs through 2036 that complicates things further, but there is concern that the revenue gap could eventually lead to a performance gap in competition.

Still, the ACC is the long-time home for UVA and it contains most of the natural regional rivalries that interest fans the most. UNC, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Duke, Clemson … Virginia has history with those schools that continues to resonate whether that’s elite hoops with the Heels and Devils, football misery at different times (the other white meat streak with the Tigers, anyone?), or other connections. That resonates with many fans if the revenue gap didn’t seem to be so significant for the conference.

On the other hand, the Big Ten offers (in addition to lots of $$) some potential regional rivalries, research university connections, and compatibility with many of the other sports that make up the successful athletics portfolio for UVA. The drawbacks, for some, reside with geography, cold weather, and school size.

The SEC, meanwhile, contains some schools from the Hoos’ long-ago home in the Southern Conference before schools split into the ACC and SEC. That includes Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and others. The regional rivalry feel there is undeniable, there’s still lots of money, and fans see some enticing road trip locations. The problems for some relate to academic concerns and a lack of a home for some other sports.

No matter how you view the possibilities, realignment always sparks conversation. Here are some threads from this week on the topic:

Fan(s) Of The Week

Front row for the Hoos.

Virginia Cavaliers

Student Fan(s) Of The Week

Go Hoos!

Virginia Cavaliers

Feature Photo Of The Week

Terrence Wilkins had 97 receptions for 1,495 yards and 5 touchdowns plus 1,155 return yards on special teams at UVA. He’s also a Super Bowl winner.

Virginia Cavaliers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *