Rumors swirl on Clemson’s future in the ACC

Clemson rumors
Clemson rumors
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:04 AM EDT
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CLEMSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - It has been one week since news broke of Southern California and UCLA’s departure from the PAC-12 for the Big Ten and the ripples and rumors on the implications have ceased to stop.

Thursday morning the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Swim Swam News tweeted a source had told him a group of ACC members, including Clemson, were negotiating to join the SEC. He later published an article, articulating the impending effects on the swimming scene if this move happened.

It was the college football fans that picked up the tweet though.

FOX Carolina Sports reached out to a source close to the Clemson football program who said they have no knowledge of any current talks between Clemson and the SEC. They did say conversations and hypotheticals of Clemson to the SEC have happened over the years, but a move would involve the university’s Board of Trustees.

We did learn a special session has been called for Friday for the Clemson Board of Trustees. The board reports all members will attend remotely and the session was called to discuss tuition.

No members of the Board could be reached for comment Thursday and Clemson Athletic Director Graham Neff declined to comment on conference realignment at this time.

A second source directly familiar with college athletic conference realignment explained the most common reason at the Power Five level for a move is in media rights revenue. They went on to explain the SEC would typically need to offer league admission to a University to begin the process. Then the invitee’s Board would weigh the new league’s admission fee, the current league’s departure fee as well as fan reaction, implications on travel and expenses against that new potential media rights revenue.

According to the source close to the Clemson football program, a move to the SEC would mean major money for Clemson but reiterated they know nothing of any current negotiations. They did warn though that the college football landscape is rapidly changing and emphasized if Clemson is not careful, they could be left out in these realignments, affecting the university and the athletic departments both financially and in terms of competition.

A major factor in where Clemson could end up comes down to those media rights. Essentially, who would benefit from Clemson fans tuning in on Saturday?

Currently, the SEC Network has a stronghold in the state of South Carolina with the Gamecocks. Another possibility our sources mentioned were future expansions of the Big 12 or even more likely, the Big Ten, as the conference has now moved west but has no hold on the deep football fandom of the south.

That is where our sources pointed out the negative for the fans and their ability to travel and support their Tigers.