ACC approves Grant of Rights deal

The fallout of a free-agency bust: Theo Epstein and Carl Crawford are both gone from Boston. (Getty Images)
ACC officials believe a Grant of Rights will ward off other conferences from poaching ACC teams. (USATSI)

(UPDATE 2:30 EST) Goodbye $50 million exit fee.

The ACC on Monday announced a Grant of Rights agreement among its 15 members. reported earlier Monday the ACC presidents were in the process of clearing the Grant of Rights with their departments. The agreement goes to 2026-27, the duration of the league's contract with ESPN.

Unless a member takes the league to court to escape this agreement, the ACC believes a Grant of Rights will protect it from conference realignment poachers. Starting July 1, the ACC's average annual media rights intake per school will surpass $20 million, according to a league source.

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The North Carolina-based David Glenn Show reported the news early Monday afternoon.

A Grant of Rights, in basic form, is written permission from league members to relinquish control of television rights to the league for the duration of the deal. If a school leaves, it forfeits those earnings to be spread among the rest of the conference.

There's a correlation between the GOR and the ACC's push for a 24-hour channel that would mirror the format of the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12.

The league is evaluating the viability of a channel with ESPN, which is gathering info and will get back to the league soon. From what I'm told, league members are encouraged about those talks so far.

I'm not yet sure what the GOR means for the ACCs lawsuit with Big Ten-bound Maryland over the $50 million exit fee the league put in place last year. Maryland and Florida State were the only league members to vote against the exit fee.

Considering inflation would only devalue that fee in the coming years, a GOR is a sound move by a league that feels its portfolio is stronger than given credit for in the realignment game.

The ACC is on the lower end of the power-conference revenue structure, to be sure. But its model never was broken, and there's room to make more.

The Big 12 was the last conference to implement a Grant of Rights. SEC schools can leave that conference whenever they want, but they aren't doing that anytime soon.

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