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ACC commissioner Jim Phillips on North Carolina Board of Trustees effort to leave: 'I don't know what's true and what's not'

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison05/15/24


The ACC is meeting in Amelia Island for the conference’s spring meetings. This comes amid a cloud of lawsuits and concern about the future of the conference.

One recent bit of concern has come from North Carolina. There, the North Carolina Board of Trustees reportedly having a meeting behind closed doors this week. There, they will discuss athletics director Bubba Cunningham and financial issues within the athletic department. One major concern seems to be about the lack of revenue that North Carolina is earning from the ACC, and if leaving the conference could help the athletic department.

Now, while at the conference’s spring meetings, ACC commissioner Jim Phillips has shared what he knows about that push being made by the North Carolina Board of Trustees.

“Those are campus discussions & politics,” Jim Phillips said. “I don’t know what’s true & what’s not”

This all comes while the ACC and Jim Phillips are currently dealing with lawsuits from Florida State and Clemson. Those both relate to the Grant of Rights agreement in the ACC media deal and stem from concerns about the financial growth and perception of the conference. In return, the ACC is suing both of those schools.

Now, the ACC is dealing with added concerns from North Carolina that could create an existential crisis for the conference, as more realignment looms.

The comments from UNC Trustee Dave Boliek emphasized these concerns, in particular, compared to other conferences financially.

“Carolina’s ability to maintain excellence at a high level is going to require really prudent budgeting and revenue models and potential cost cutting,” Boliek said. “A lot of it is due to the revenue or lack thereof of revenue that we’re not receiving from the ACC deal.”

He even went on to say that he’s advocating for North Carolina to leave the ACC and look for a conference that has larger payouts.

“I am advocating for that,” he told WRAL. “That’s what we need to do. We need to do everything we can to get there. Or the alternative is the ACC is going to have to reconstruct itself. I think all options are on the table.”

The current ACC media deal locks the conference in with ESPN through 2036 with a Grant of Rights to lock teams in. This comes while media deals for the Big Ten and SEC continue to increase. It’s also led to many concerns from bigger athletic brands within the conference.

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips addresses future of ESPN media deal, 2025 option

The ACC media deal with ESPN has reported there is an option for the network to pick up by February 2025 to continue holding the conference’s media rights. This is something that Jim Phillips described as a “look in” and said that he expects the conference to bet with ESPN for the length of the deal.

“The partnership’s not going away or being affected in a negative way at all,” Phillips said. “It’s a look in and we’re handling some of what that states.”

This option has become a major topic of conversation recently, as it has become one of Florida State’s arguments in its lawsuit against the ACC.