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Long-term future of ACC top storyline at media days in Charlotte

Can league close gap with ever-growing SEC and Big Ten?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
At the Westin Charlotte in Uptown, there's uncertainty at ACC Kickoff, the league's annual two-day media event to preview the football season.

That's because there's uncertainty everywhere in college football.

Expansion has seemingly sparked the creation of what could eventually be two super leagues as the SEC has added Texas and Oklahoma, and the Big Ten just added UCLA and USC.

The ACC seems to be falling behind, and commissioner Jim Phillips' Wednesday address did not inspire much hope it will catch up.

He spoke more about the keeping college sports the way they have been, not moving in the way they're going.

"He was very idealistic," WRAL Sports columnist Joe Giglio said. "He was very sincere when he talks about the amateur model, and the mission of college sports. But I don't know if that was the right messaging."

Like many, Giglio sees the money gap between the ACC and SEC/Big Ten, through TV deals and Name Image and Likeness as a huge concern for the ACC.

"You want to make sure when you're recruiting that the players you're recruiting know you can win a National Championship at an ACC school," Giglio said. "In the next 5-10 years, are we going to be able to say the same thing? That's got to be the biggest concern for Clemson, Florida State, Miami."

Those are the programs that seemed primed to make a jump to a different league.

But right now holding them back is the ACC's grant of rights.

Through 2036, if a school leaves the league, their television money even with a new conference would still kick back to the ACC.

Giglio thinks that would hold the league together for another 10 years, unless Notre Dame makes a move.

Notre Dame is part of the ACC's grant of rights agreement, but is independent.

What if they decide to go to the another league, like the Big Ten?

"If Notre Dame figures out a way to challenge the grant of rights and get out of it," Giglio said, they would show a blueprint to everyone else."

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