Stanford’s Future in the Pac-12 in Question as ACC Invite Looms

While its fellow Pac-4 members in the Pacific Northwest seek to rebuild their pillaged league and wait to find out if the Cardinal are in, Stanford hasn’t given up on receiving an invitation to join the A.C.C.

Stanford informed its peers that it had informed the ACC that it would be open to joining the conference at a greatly reduced or even no media rights payout for several years, according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke Thursday during a meeting between leaders from Stanford, California, Oregon State, and Washington State.

Due to the schools’ policy of keeping its internal talks private, the speaker agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.

Unknown is whether obtaining Stanford and rival Cal from Northern California at a discount will be sufficient to persuade the requisite 12 of the 15 ACC schools to vote in favor of expansion.

Stanford’s next decision appears to be crucial to the Pac-12’s future. After the 2023–24 academic year, eight members of the more than 100-year-old conference will depart.

Stanford, Cal’s Options in Limbo as Pac-12 Future Uncertain

Since the Pac-12 was destroyed by the Big 12 and Big Ten, Stanford has a $36.2 billion endowment, and Cal has been looking for another Power Five landing point.

The ACC, which is made up exclusively of institutions located in the Eastern time zone, seems to be the only option.

Leaders of the ACC met for three days last week to discuss westward expansion, which might have included adding SMU, the American Athletic Conference institution with its campus in Dallas.

The presidents decided without holding a formal vote because they anticipated having trouble obtaining the necessary 12 votes to authorize expansion. However, it didn’t resolve the matter.

Several ACC members have been urging the league to alter its equal income distribution scheme, with Florida State making the most noise.

Earlier this year, the league declared that it had approved a distribution scheme that gives schools performance bonuses from the proceeds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and College Football Playoff. The ACC has yet to provide any information regarding that model.

The conference could focus the greater revenue from its relationship with ESPN on current members if Stanford and Cal agreed to join at significantly reduced shares.

But the ACC cannot agree on the how and how much.

Oregon State and Washington State are currently in a limbo.

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In a statement to The Oregonian on Wednesday, Oregon State sports director Scott Barnes reiterated the commitment of the institution to the Pac-12, which was first stated by university president Jayathi Murthy late last week.

β€œNothing’s easy, given the circumstances, but I think it’s our best path forward,” Barnes told the newspaper. ”It is a solid option in terms of building back. All the more need to have the four of us as the foundation of what we build.”

The American Athletic Conference or the Mountain West would be the two choices for Oregon State and Washington State.

In terms of a timeline, Barnes stated that they must ascertain whether Stanford and Cal are participating as soon as possible.

β€œWe can’t wait a month. I’m hopeful that it’s days,” he said.

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Louis Ebert

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