The ACC Dug Its Own Grave and West Virginia Fans Will Now Dance On It

Realignment is something that, in the overall scheme of things, was always present in intercollegiate athletics. 

Do you realize that Tulane University was one of the first schools to join the Southeastern Conference? Likewise, Georgia Tech and the ACC included South Carolina. 

The beginning of the mega million-dollar era back in 2004, ended up becoming the foundation for what we are presently witnessing, which is teams switching their affiliations to the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference.

As it relates to WVU and Mountaineer Nation, this is the day when greed first dug its fingernails into the roots, leaving behind only bewilderment, anger, and powerlessness.

On that day, respectively Miami and Virginia Tech announced that they would be leaving the Big East for the more lucrative ACC.

What came next is something you already remember. WVU was basically forced to leave the Big East after Boston College and Pitt departed the conference, and they were accompanied by Syracuse, Louisville, and afterward the rest of the Big East’s schools.

Shifting to the Big 12 has provided good times and bad for Mountaineer sports at West Virginia University.

Having joined in 2012, there has been a veritable feast in the form of numerous monetary incentives. Famine, in the sense that West Virginia University finds itself on an uninhabited island without any kind of real ties to the universities in the heartland with whom it now competes. WVU fans can express their gratitude to the ACC for such.

This brings us to the event that took place last week in Charlotte, North Carolina, during which ACC Chief Jim Phillips spoke about the state of college athletics from a conference table.

His final act was to plead for compassion by spewing 1980s-era “Yee-Haw” rhetoric that had no place in the present era.

According to Phillips, “Any new framework of the NCAA must function the many rather than a shared few.”, “We are not among the hierarchy of the professionals. This is not a watered-down version of the NFL or NBA. That should not be a structure in which the winner takes all or a zero-sum game. Collegiate sports have never been seen as an exclusive or purely commercial endeavor.”

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) recently discovered how far it has actually fallen in the rankings of conference supremacy. As a result, the ACC is now advocating for college sports to become more equitable and humane in order to protect itself from being consumed.

It’s important to remember that Phillips has only served as the ACC’s president for a little more than a year.

As a result, he wasn’t there when former Big East Director John Swofford removed six schools from the conference and didn’t apologize.

Swofford secured a 20-year contract with ESPN for the conference media rights, but Phillips was nowhere to be seen throughout those negotiations.

This agreement, which is set to last until 2036, is currently devastating to the ACC and makes absolute sense for ESPN.

For the duration of the contract, Atlantic Coast Conference schools will receive somewhere around $35 and $38 million annually.

In the most recent year, the Big 12 conference exceeded those overall numbers by distributing $42.6 million to the universities in its conference.

For years, colleges in the Big Ten and SEC have generated more than institutions in the ACC, which already resembles a conference full of egotistical and self-righteous members eagerly for the beginning of the basketball season to begin.

Phillips emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy environment in every community. “If they are not, it will not be beneficial for college athletics.”

At this point in time, the Atlantic Coast Conference is still regarded as part of the power 5 community, but not one that receives a compliment when being discussed.

Phillips’ appeal for cooperation in the interest of a greater good was easy to comprehend in light of the fact that the table representing the ACC is moving further and further away from the conversation. 

In his statement, he said, “I will proceed to do what is best for the ACC, but I will also advocate for college sports to be a balanced community, not a 2 or 3 community.”

Whenever the ACC originally invaded the Big East in 2003, nobody from outside the ACC made such strong demands for general justice, least of all anybody from the ACC itself. Neither the ACC’s beginnings nor its current state can be attributed to Phillip, however, there is no refuting that the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is now feeling the hands of others clamping around its throat. It must be because other conferences have succeeded in getting so much better at the realignment game that the ACC initiated.

In light of this, West Virginia University and its supporters ought to be celebrating right now, as the ACC is about to finally be given what it justly merits.