If the ACC Comes Knocking, Will WVU Answer the Door?

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — A report surfaced yesterday that the ACC is exploring possible expansion options and West Virginia is one of its top targets.

In an article released by David Cook of ESPN, ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips is quoted as saying, “The ACC has been and remains highly engaged in looking at anything that makes us a better and stronger conference. We’ve spent considerable time on expansion to see if there is anything that fits. We have a tremendous group of institutions but if there was something that made us better, we would absolutely be open to it.”

Cook said the following in his article: “Since the first major realignment dominoes fell with Texas and Oklahoma’s decision to leave the Big 12 for the SEC happened in summer 2021, the ACC has explored possible expansion options, according to multiple league administrators, running models on adding a number of potential targets, including West Virginia, SMU, Oregon and Washington.”

Why West Virginia Should Consider a Move to the ACC

Many of West Virginia’s geographic and historic rivals, including Pitt, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Louisville, Syracuse and Boston College, are in the ACC and the Mountaineers fit better with this group of programs. Most of the programs in the ACC are located within driving proximity for West Virginia fans to travel to away games and competing against the likes of Pitt and Virginia Tech for a conference title is very appealing.

Why West Virginia Should Not Consider a Move to the ACC

The ACC is stuck in its media rights deal with ESPN until 2036 and each ACC school is only making approximately $37.9 to $41.3 million per year, which falls well below the Big Ten ($58.8 million), SEC ($49.9 million) and even the Big 12 ($42-$44.9 million).

In addition, the ACC is in major danger of imploding entirely if either the Big Ten or the SEC can convince Clemson or Florida State to leave the conference. Without Florida State and Clemson, the ACC is simply not as good of a conference as the Big 12.

The Big 12 provides real stability and even though West Virginia would rekindle old rivalries by going to the ACC, it just doesn’t make financial sense for the Mountaineers to move at this time.