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The Countdown: 27 days until the ACC

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Pitt is gaining more than thrilling opponents and improved bowl games in the ACC - its gaining stability.

Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

27 days until the ACC: #ACCSolidarity

When Pitt proudly announced it was moving from the shaky Big East to the established ACC, fans and supporters rejoiced at the program's newfound stability. Then, when the University of Maryland, a founding member of the ACC, announced it was withdrawing for the Big Ten in 2014, some doubt was raised as to whether the conference was as stable as initially believed. In particular, concerns that Florida State would ditch the ACC for the SEC or Big 12 began to gain fuel.

Well, those worries were essentially ended in April when the league's schools approved a grant of media rights deal, effective through 2027.

More than two years of passionate, rampant speculation about Florida State University's future with the Atlantic Coast Conference came to a screeching halt Monday with the announcement that the league's presidents had unanimously agreed to a pact that effectively locks in all 15 schools through at least 2027.

The agreement, called a grant of media rights, requires any university leaving the ACC to forfeit all of its television revenue — hundreds of millions of dollars — through the length of the contract.

By the way, that's in addition to the $50 million exit fee. The unequivocal commitment to the ACC's future is good enough, but the position it leaves Pitt in is even better. The stability will give the University more money and more leverage than it's ever had before. It's expected that Pitt will receive about $20 million in TV revenue per year with this new agreement versus about $8 million it was receiving in the Big East. Talks about an ACC Network are beginning to gain traction. In just a year and a half, Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and AD Steve Pederson have brilliantly maneuvered the Panthers from conference purgatory to the NCAA's highest rung. A fine accomplishment which gets closer each day.

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