The Atlantic Coast Conference, or ACC has survived the current wave of conference realignment after none of its teams has been able to make an exit. However, this might not last for so long as many top teams within the league still harbor the desire to leave and will continue to work on that.
College football insider Greg Swaim reports he has received high-profile information from administrators in ACC schools that the elite teams in the league will leave in 2026. This marks a new twist in the conference’s top teams’ push to find their way out of the league.
Notably, a number of teams hold the will to exit the league. However, a massive exit fee believed to be $120 million as well as contesting the grant of rights in court stand in their way. Nonetheless, a couple of teams are looking to navigate the binding contract.
Which ACC teams are in the frame for an exit?
More than half of ACC harbors the intention to leave the conference. However, not every team seems to possess what it takes to find their way out. Seven schools in the league reportedly met a few months ago to study the possibility of an exit from the conference.
Florida State appears to be the top candidate for a potential exit. Unlike other universities in the league, the Seminoles officials have been vocal about the desire to leave and are also working towards it. The university is unhappy with the revenue-sharing model of the league.
Clemson is another top candidate that could leave the conference when the opportunity presents itself. Although the Tigers are not as vocal about their intention as Florida State, their actions within the conference have communicated their desire to leave.
Other ACC schools that could be in the frame for an exit include North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, and a host of others.
A couple of teams have rejected the league expansion
Just like a couple of other conferences in the Power Five, the ACC is seeking to expand in a bid to remain competitive in the landscape. The league is currently considering the possibility of adding two of the four remaining Pac-12 teams: Cal and Stanford.
However, the attempt is currently being met with opposition from a couple of teams. In a vote to admit Cal and Stanford last week, four teams voted against the move, which resulted in the Pac-12 schools not getting the required amount of votes to ratify their admission.
Notably, the four schools who voted against are among the lots seeking to leave the conference, should the opportunity presents itself.