ACC Should Add Johns Hopkins for Lacrosse
The Blue Ribbon panel appointed by Johns Hopkins University to evaluate the pros and cons of joining a conference for lacrosse as an associate member has issued its report. The report recommends pursuing a conference affiliation. The Confidential believes that the ACC should add Johns Hopkins as an associate member for lacrosse only.
First, the ACC needs a sixth team. Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia, and it was going to be Maryland. The loss of Maryland means the loss of the 6th program.
Second, in Johns Hopkins, the ACC gets a huge name in lacrosse, as well as solidifying the Maryland region. The rivalries are there.
Third, this would be the premier conference in the history of… ever. Imagine if Alabama, LSU, Florida, and Georgia left the SEC and joined a conference with Florida State and Miami. Regional and dominant! Or a basketball conference with Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Michigan State. You get the picture. If you are going six, go all the way.
Fourth, Johns Hopkins has a TV deal with ESPNU that it wants to keep. The ACC’s rights are owned by–wait for it–ESPN. This part of it works. How would Johns Hopkins mesh with the Big Ten Network? Not as easily.
Fifth, Notre Dame set the precedent here with a partial membership. Not really breaking any new ground. And other conferences have allowed members for just one sport under similar arrangements.
Finally, the Big 10 wants them too. Perhaps. Maybe. Why be in a conference with Rutgers lacrosse, when you can be in a conference with 5 of the biggest names in, well, ever. Johns Hopkins looks a lot more like Duke and Syracuse and Notre Dame, than it does a boring flagship state university with 50,000 members.
So there it is. Everything works for this. We just need the ACC to beat the Big 10 to the punch.
The qualifier–the ACC would not have to pay them to be in the conference. Just allow them to keep the ESPNU contract and get the potential to earn the ACC bid. In contrast, all six schools get the increased gate for certain matchups with elite teams. And the ACC lacrosse tourney would almost become worthy of ESPN or at least ESPN2.
It makes perfect sense to me. The only downside is if you get to a point where the ACC dilutes themselves by beating each other up, or where the tourney selection will exclude qualified teams because they don’t want more than 1/4 of the teams from the ACC.
If given the chance, I think the ACC should dive heads first at this opportunity…
That is some Big East-ish diving.
I think it’s more AAC-ish.
Nope, the ACC should NOT do it. ND should be the only exception to the all-in rule. This will water-down the conference, as it did the hybrid BE!
The Pac-12 has San Diego State for soccer. http://pac-12.com/Sports/SoccerM.aspx
The also have Boise State and two other schools in wrestling. Another affiliate member in swimming. They are OK.
If the ACC is going to be a hybrid conference, then at least be sure to bring in schools that add value to the sport(s) they participate. Unlike the Big East adding DePaul, which offered nothing…except for a team that could be competitive against Rutgers.
There’s no question that Johns Hopkins will make the ACC incomparable in lacrosse, and because of the unique arrangement JH would only have the one sport.
The ACC all-in approach (again ND the ONLY exception) propagates full school spirit, excitement, and involvement in the conference! Positioning the ACC is 14 schools + JHU + ??? again starting watering-down the cohesiveness and image. The hybrid approach hurt the BE. Don’t do it!
The hybrid approach didn’t hurt the BE, asinine leadership hurt the Big East; a perception that the league was putting basketball ahead of football killed the Big East; and the stupidity to try and take on ESPN killed the Big East.
The BE was watered-down because of the conflict in revenue between football and basketball. Lacrosse isn’t even close to being an issue like that. I actually think the ACC might want to invite Hopkins as an associate member for lacrosse only because of its interest in the ACC Network. With Hopkins, the ACC Network would have tremendous lacrosse programming, something that would drive Northeast eyeballs in a way that no other non-revenue sport can do. That would drive distribution in the entire Northeast corridor, giving the ACC Network the foothold it would need (which is the problem the B1G and Pac-12 networks already have with distribution and decent programming outside the football/basketball seasons). The ACC Network would then likely become far more relevant–at the cost of only adding an associate member (Hopkins) that doesn’t drive revenue!
It’s a close call, but the ACC could benefit from adding Hopkins.
UVa and UNC are the schools that are most likely to be pursued by the BIG or SEC in the future. Hopkins not only creates an unbelievable lacrosse conference, it also reinforces the ACC as a preeminent conference for academics.
The addition of Louisville improved the football and basketball standing of the ACC while hurting the academic reputation and geographic fit. Adding Hopkins allows the ACC to maintain a strong presence in Maryland.
The B1G has more to gain from adding Hopkins, but the ACC should definitely pursue them.
This isn’t a case of the ACC “beating the B1G to the punch.” JHU will be talking to both and (I suspect) will have offers of some sort from both. If the ACC wants them, the trick will be to provide JHU with a better offer than the B1G does.
Side note on BTN, that network is a tier 3 network meaning tier 1 and 2 broadcasters choose their games first and then everything left is available to BTN. Now, B1G could structure a tier 1/2 deal with ESPN that is smaller than ESPNU might want so more quality games drop down to tier 3 and are available to BTN. So, unless the B1G would pull some tricks with the package it would sell to ESPN, any game that ESPN would broadcast originally could just as easily stay on ESPN even with BTN in the picture.
The BTN is not a tier 3 network. It is a network that only has tier 3 games available due to current contracts. If the Big 10 wanted to, they could stop contracting with other networks and put everything on the BTN.
The real rub is what is the nature of JHU’s contract with ESPN–what is left over that could be televised on the BTN. Is that enough to justify a relationship between the Big 10 and JHU? Or the ACC and JHU for that matter?
While I think it is less likely that the ACC would decide to allow an associate membership in Hopkins for men’s and women’s lacrosse, I also think the possible creation of an ACC Network would change that possible equation. With Hopkins as part of the ACC lax inventory, the ACC Network would own men’s and women’s lacrosse like no other league–especially in the Northeast, where most of the lacrosse eyeballs are located. That would assist the ACC Network gain distribution in the Northeast, and particularly in the coveted NYC metro area, as every lax fan there would want to watch ACC lax. Adding Hopkins then becomes a VERY smart move for the ACC, even if L’ville and FSU are considering new programs. ALSO, now that the ACC has formalized its grant of media rights, there will be NO poaching of any ACC teams by the B1G, which precludes the B1G (and the BTN) from gaining relevance in lacrosse. Another smart move by the ACC.
Pingback: Johns Hopkins to the Big 10 | ATLANTIC COAST CONFIDENTIAL