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Mailbag 3/1

Apparently FSU is in the news!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 Cheez-It Bowl Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Phys99: What do you think of FSU’s “line in the sand” over unequal revenue sharing? I feel like it is a want in one hand and spit in the other, see which one fills up first situation, but I’m interested in hearing other opinions.

Jack: I’m not an expert in the whole revenue sharing aspect of these contracts, but I do see where FSU/Clemson are coming from. What disturbs me most is that FSU seemingly does not value the ACC beyond the money the contracts bring in. I know it’s a lot to ask a college to also feel like they are part of a collection of schools working together, especially when a couple are pulling a ton of weight. The slow assimilation of schools into bigger and bigger conferences seems inevitable until we just do away with them entirely and treat them like divisions in pro sport leagues.

Logan: It seems strange to me that now is the time FSU decided to get upset about the terrible ACC deal. To me that would indicate that FSU has some kind of plan to make this work out for them. If you’re asking what I think from a human standpoint, I’m not gonna feel bad for a program that already makes ridiculous amounts of money. Maybe FSU should have put more effort into the initial contract if that was going to bother them.

jabsterjacket: Whither the Pac-12? Does it merge with the Mountain West or with the ACC? How many Pac-12 schools leave for the Big 12 or the B1G before something happens?

Logan: Too early to say. I think only a few more big programs need to leave before the PAC-12 has to begin a serious restructuring. Oregon in particular is a lynchpin, but right now it’s too early to say how PAC-12 will react to these departures.

jabsterjacket: If the ACC picks up the Pac-12 or any other schools, does this trigger a renegotiation of the ESPN deal and GoR?

Jack: Legally, I don’t know. But, any shakeup I would imagine would encourage a swift renegotiation, if that hasn’t already begun.

Logan: If the ACC has any leverage they should try to renegotiate, because that contract is terrible compared to other conferences.

jabsterjacket: Could Clemson or F$U argue that the ESPN deal is now materially different than what they signed up for, and if so, could this trigger a renegotiation or departure?

Jack: If so, I love this because it might be our ticket to the B1G.

Logan: It seems like they are already making that argument, not a lawyer but I imagine that FSU and Clemson could take the ACC to court over being allowed to leave the conference.

jabsterjacket: Could FSU + Clemson make it difficult for the ACC with legal costs, etc. to the point where a negotiated departure becomes a possibility?

Also found this interesting:

It appears that the ACC is now second-to-last in total and per-team revenue, ahead of the Pac-12. We’re not far behind the Big 12 and the B1G, but everyone’s way behind the $EC.

If my math is right, if Clemson and FSU put up $250M each to buy their way out of the GoR (basically paying their share of revenue for each year of the remainder of the media deal; the NPV of the revenue stream would be even less than $250M; FSU said it was about half that, which sounds right), and joined the $EC, with 16+2 schools in the $EC and the existing media deal (which the $EC could easily renegotiate in its favor) CLEM/FSU would break even and start coming out ahead sometime in year 6. And that breakeven point moves closer each year, by about 4 months each year. In other words, if they wait three years they start coming out ahead sometime in year 5, etc. If the NPV is half, then the time to breakeven is cut in half.

Of course, the ACC could play hardball and demand more than the $250M to buy out the GoR. Not sure what that tipping point would be.

Also, since both conferences have similar deals with the Mouse, Disney could have some influence on any renegotiation. Does the ACCN become a lot less viable if Clemson and FSU leave? Right now the Mouse has two networks; Disney might not want to lose one or lose cable system carriage.

Not sure how much Clemson and FSU are willing (or can afford) to spend on a buyout and/or attorneys, but at the very least this is a ticking time bomb for the ACC that will go off well before 2036.

Jack: Yeah I agree. I’d be shocked if the GoR survives to 2030. The USC/UCLA move put everyone on their toes. Bob Iger coming back as Disney CEO also could be a factor here depending on what his pIans are for ESPN. The ACCN has been a godsend to watch non-revenue sports, so full on losing the network will majorly damage the outreach growing sports like volleyball and softball have. That stuff can’t be ignored, and ESPN/ACC know that. NCAA Volleyball is of the most growing sports in the last decade both in terms of people playing and television ratings. Everyone involved has one of the most valuable television products ever in college football, but also new hits that get new fans every season. Thinking about the NCAA’s offerings as a package of television series, they have content all across the board that has to be considered.

This then plays into the who lives, who dies, who tells their story part of the Big XII, Pac-12, and ACC. For every top-tier team that makes a jump, these three conferences are likely in a worse situation. I would also guess those conferences will have different lineups even after the shakeups we know are coming before 2030. Will one of those conferences flat out not exist by 2030? Maybe, but I’d guess not just because of how much movement that would require. The Mountain West, some of the AAC, and a grab bag of other small conferences would likely die out sooner.

The impossible task here that solves a ton of problems is to somehow just unify all the D1 teams into a promotion/relegation structure and do away with the conferences. We have all the teams in place and the ability to regionally structure everything that conferences seem to not be able to do anymore.

Logan: um... what Jack said?

Partywaggin: Assuming a top-10 performance from Charlie Thomas at the Combine, how much will that boost his draft stock? Is Keion White 100% first-round bound? (Roll it up and truck it!)

Ben: I’m completely out of the loop on all the conference stuff with FSU and everything (guess that’s what happens between being in a musical and having a hectic work week), so I’m just gonna hop in here! Charlie Thomas isn’t going to fall due to ability or by how well he does at the Combine. He’s going to fall because he is very small for an NFL linebacker. Georgia Tech’s official roster lists him at just 207 pounds. A quick Google search tells me that an average NFL linebacker is closer to 245-250 pounds. Tech also tried Thomas at defensive back, and he didn’t perform as well as he did at linebacker, so they moved him back. I could see a team take a chance on him in the 4th or 5th with plans to try him at safety, but no earlier than that and probably later. As for Keion White, I think there’s a decent shot he goes in the first, but I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see him drop into the second.

Logan: I imagine a top-10 performance at the combine would boost any player’s draft stock. Currently the projections I have seen put Charlie Thomas as a round 4 pick, I could see him going up to the 3rd round if things go well.

Submitted via email: Hey guys,

Hope all is well this week. Sorry I haven’t sent one of these in recently, been pretty busy. I’ll get right to it.

Question this week: what is the worst case scenario for GT sports revenue from this FSU hullabaloo?

1) ACC caves and agrees to uneven revenue distribution

2) FSU and potentially Clemson buy their way out of the ACC, but the ACC stays alive by keeping other teams and potentially adding

3) The FSU buyout leads to an exodus from the ACC and leads to the slow dissolution of the ACC

4) some other terrible scenario I can’t think of at the moment.

Not saying these things will happen, just hoping to get better context on what it would mean for GT if they played out.

Love the content guys, hope y’all have a nice week,

Jimmy Kibble

Jack: I would go with option 1. If that happens, Tech’s revenue distribution likely doesn’t increase at all, we’re still stuck with the current GoR with only a super expensive way out, and the ACC hasn’t done anything to make itself more competitive in conference expansion. Do we want to keep being the very average athletic school in this conference? Existing in a different conference (coughs in B1G) and still being average could put more money in Tech’s coffers, which it desperately needs for many reasons.

Logan: From a financial standpoint number 1 is by far the worst option. That basically leaves us where we are but guarantees a significantly smaller split of the ACC revenue pool. From a program standpoint, I think if the ACC loses FSU and Clemson then GT needs to start looking for another conference to take us. I’m not as confident that we could make it into the BIG 10, so I have my concerns but I certainly don’t want us to be stuck on a sinking ship of a conference.