The Atlantic Coast Conference will add Cal, Stanford and Southern Methodist University to the league starting next season. The conference was able to obtain the required 12 of 15 votes in favor from member universities’ presidents on Friday morning after failing to do so last month. Cal and Stanford will join from the Pac-12 Conference, while SMU – located in Dallas – joins from the American Athletic Conference.
“We are thrilled to welcome three world-class institutions to the ACC, and we look forward to having them compete as part of our amazing league,” said league commissioner Jim Phillips. “Cal, SMU and Stanford will be terrific members of the ACC and we are proud to welcome their student-athletes, coaches, staff and entire campus community, alumni and fans.”
The votes against expansion in the first attempt reportedly came from UNC, NC State, Clemson and Florida State. UNC’s vote was confirmed when Dave Boliek, chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, issued a statement on Thursday evening opposing expansion of the league.
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) September 1, 2023
“The strong majority of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees opposes the proposed expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Boliek’s statement read. “Although we respect the academic excellence and the athletic programs of those institutions, the travel distances for routine in-conference competitive play are too great for this arrangement to make sense… without ironclad assurances that the proposal serves the interest of UNC-Chapel Hill, we believe this proposed expansion should be voted down.”
Despite this opposition, NC State reportedly switched its vote from no to yes on Friday, clearing the way for the three schools to join. It will mark the first time the league’s membership has changed in nearly a decade. The last round of expansion saw Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame join for the 2013-14 season (with Notre Dame joining in all sports except football), and Louisville join a year later.
UNC chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz sent out a statement on Friday afternoon, in which he says he “respect[s] the outcome of today’s vote and welcome[s] our new members to the ACC.”
“My vote against expansion was informed from feedback I have gathered over the last several weeks from our athletic leadership, coaches, faculty athletic advisors, student-athletes and a variety of other stakeholders,” Guskiewicz said. “I look forward to working with all our colleagues in the ACC to ensure excellence in academics and athletics — something our conference has long been known for.”
Featured image via USA Today Sports/Joshua S. Kelly
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