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Will FSU bring about the end of the ACC and the next round of conference realignment?

Mike Golic Jr. and Mike Golic Sr. welcome The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach to discuss Florida State’s legal bid to break its grant of rights deal with the ACC.

2023 ACC Championship - Louisville v Florida State Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

FSU looks like it is ready to try and fight its way out of the ACC through the legal system and Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic joined Mike Golic Jr. and Mike Golic Sr. to break it all down.

FSU called a special Board of Trustees meeting for this morning with the university’s future in the ACC under a microscope. In fact, after the meeting FSU filed a lawsuit in an effort to break its grant of rights deal with the conference, kicking off the legal battle to come.

Nicole notes that FSU has been saber-rattling for almost a year, with their frustrations first coming to light publicly at a Board of Trustees meeting in February with the flames further fanned at the spring ACC meetings where it came to light that seven schools, including FSU, were talking to each other and examining this grant of rights agreement with the conference. Then in August, Board members and the university president admitted that they may have to leave the ACC with some suggesting they needed to have an exit plan by August 2024. Nicole says sources told her that the College Football Playoff snub wasn’t directly related to FSU being in the ACC, but it reinvigorated these conversations and accelerated the timeline on potential action.

Senior asked Nicole to explain the much-discussed grant of rights in a simple manner for him so he could understand. She was happy to oblige.

GoJo wants to know if there is any precedent for what Florida State is trying to do. Nicole wants to say that they’ll set the precedent, but we have also been dealing with a number of lawsuits recently with members suing their own conference. But it does feel like a point of no return for Florida State and the ACC. She also notes that if FSU is successful in breaking these deals, what will that mean for other schools who have been disgruntled in the ACC?And could it potentially set off another round of massive realignment?

Nicole says there will be a lot of other interested parties in the ACC because if the path Florida State takes is successful, then you have to think that Clemson and some of these other schools will challenge the grant of rights on similar grounds and that would be the big snowball. It would be a seismic shift because the ACC and the rest of the industry has been operating under the assumption that these schools were not available until 2036. But she says it always felt like Florida State would be the school willing to go first, willing to take the arrows in its bid to break out of the conference.

GoJo wants to know if this is the beginning of the end of the ACC, with the conference going the way of the Pac-12. Nicole says you take a look back at what happened with Cal, Stanford and SMU and it could be seen as a pre-emptive backfilling in case the ACC loses members down the road. It also could keep the conference at a certain minimum that fulfills its contract with ESPN. When comparing the ACC to the Pac-12, the Pac-12 was losing members left and right and not being able to replace them and before you knew it they were down to four members and it wasn’t feasible. So, Nicole says that the idea of strength in numbers is important, but if the ACC loses one of its most valuable brands with others potentially on their way out the door it’s potentially a different world. But, she says it’s going to be a fascinating couple of months ahead.

Meanwhile, the Golics reacted to the news of ANOTHER big free-agent deal for the Dodgers who seem to have an endless supply of cash.

Make sure to check out the GoJo and Golic Holiday Special on Monday at 8 a.m. ET on, Samsung TV Plus, Roku, Xumo Play and now Google TV!


Watch GoJo and Golic every weekday on Samsung TV Plus, Roku, Xumo Play and from 8 to 10 a.m. ET. The show will also be available via audio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow Mike Golic Sr. on X at @golic and Mike Golic Jr. on X at @mikegolicjr.

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