Yesterday the rumor mill known as Twitter began recirculating the possibility of Clemson and Florida State jumping from the ACC to the Big 12. This has been postulated for a while, but now the rumor appears to have some legs. This was brought back due to the hiring of Bob Bowlsby – the former Stanford Athletic Director – to run the Big 12. The conference has long been in need of strong leadership, and now it has it.
“The institutions of the Big 12 wanted a commissioner that could take us to the next era as a conference,” said Burns Hargis, president of Oklahoma State and chairman of the conference’s board of directors. “The search committee looked for a candidate that has a vision for the next generation of college athletics, and his credentials and ideas exceeded this.”
I’ll leave the rumors to those inclined to push them. For me, I wonder if this is a good move for hoops.
Clemson is one of the founding members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (1953). In those 59 years they’ve never won the conference tournament, and have finished atop the regular season standings just once. FSU has been in the conference since 1992. In two decades they’ve won the conference tournament once, and never finished atop the regular season standings.
Aside from a record of futility, what do these two programs have in common? Money, or the lack thereof.
In the most recent financial data available Clemson finished No. 11 (of 12) in conference hoops revenue, while FSU finished No. 12. And like any business, those with money have a huge advantage.
And now the ACC is adding Syracuse and Pittsburgh which will give them two more top-20 revenue teams. And at the very top the ACC will have Duke (No. 1), North Carolina (No. 3) and Syracuse (No. 5).
The Seminoles and Tigers just don’t have the financial resources to compete in that market. The Big Ten and the ACC are the players in high finance college basketball while Clemson and Florida State are the bottom feeders in the ACC.
What about the Big 12? Shifting Clemson and FSU into that conference immediately puts them above Baylor and Texas Tech, and within shouting distance of Kansas State. More importantly, none of the top-10 revenue generating programs come from the Big 12. The Big 12 is No. 5 in men’s basketball revenue per school.
So should basketball fans from these two schools be exciting about these rumors? No doubt. It could put them into a conference where they have a better chance at competing regularly.
Or they could stay in the ACC where in 70 combined years of basketball they have one regular season title, and one conference title.
An added bonus? The Big 12 hasn’t hired Karl Hess to ref a game since 1997.