CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner Jim Phillips leads a league bringing in record revenues, with more and more money going to member schools.
It’s also a league struggling to keep up with peers in the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences.
League schools have talked for years about finding ways to close that growing gap. But as the Big Ten and SEC expand to add marquee names, the ACC’s concern becomes more pressing and even stirs uncertainty about its long-range future in terms of whether schools might eventually try to chase money elsewhere.
For now, that means trying to squeeze more money out of a long-running TV deal, kicking around ideas and even holding out hope that Notre Dame might one day shed football independence to join the ACC and boost the bottom line.
At ACC Kickoff preseason media days on Wednesday, Phillips said “all options are on the table.”
“It’s significant … so it deserves your attention,” Phillips said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It deserves creativity. It deserves all that you have to try to figure a way for a path forward that really makes sense and that brings additional value to the conference.”
The league’s deal with ESPN, which included the long-sought 2019 launch of its own network, runs through 2036. It also has an extension of a grant-of-rights provision that gives the league control of media rights for any school that attempts to leave for the duration of the deal, which is a move to deter defections in future realignment.