Raining Money

Report: ACC schools to make $17 million in new TV deal


Just as the Big 12 is on the cusp of signing at 13-year, $2.6 billion TV rights agreement, the ACC has inked its own extension that will put them in the same ballpark as the four richest conferences in college athletics.

In a release sent out today, the ACC announced an exclusive agreement with ESPN through 2026-27 that will increase exposure to the soon-to-be 14-team league. As it pertains to football, “extensive regular-season action on Saturday afternoon and nights, primetime Thursdays, three Fridays including Thanksgiving Friday, Labor Day Monday and the ACC Football Championship Game” is part of the coverage.

“We are excited to have further enhanced our partnership with ESPN through the extension of our multimedia contract,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “We are proud that ESPN has invested so deeply in the ACC both from a resource and exposure standpoint. As we look to the future, this relationship will be tremendous for our schools, fans, coaches and student-athletes.”

John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal tweets that the ACC deal with ESPN will be worth $3.6 billion, according to sources.

In other words, about $17 million per school annually for tier 1, 2 and 3 rights.

That’s not quite as lucrative as deals in, say, the Big Ten or Pac-12, where schools will be banking somewhere in the $20 million range annually, but certainly not bad for a basketball conference.

But the deal demonstrates a couple of things. First, it shows that the demand for college football inventory continues to rise at a record pace. How else could a conference that has a deplorable BCS record and a handful of football schools get that kind of money? Just think if the ACC actually put out a better football product.

On that note, the Big East has to feel good about the chances of signing a respectable TV deal of its own. That’s not to say it will be in the range of $17 million – $20 million — probably not even close — but solid nonetheless.

Also, a deal like that likely puts to bed any speculation about Florida State and/or Clemson leaving the conference for the Big 12. For those wondering, yes, there was an internet rumor about that late last week and it was absurd to the point where it wasn’t even worth bringing up.

So while the TV deal, provided the numbers given by Ourand hold up, still keeps the ACC behind the “Big Four” financially, it keeps them in the same stratosphere.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.