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ACC Welcomes Stanford, Cal, and SMU for the 2024-25 Season: A Look into the Voting Process

Stanford, Cal, and SMU to Join ACC in 2024-25: How the Vote Went Down

The college sports world was shaken to its core last week as three prominent universities, Stanford, Cal, and SMU, announced their decision to join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) starting from the 2024-25 season. This move comes as a surprise to many, but it could potentially reshape the landscape of collegiate athletics. In this article, we will take a closer look at how the vote went down and the implications of this decision.

The Gathering Storm

Speculations about conferences realignment have been swirling for years, but it was not until recently that the idea of Stanford, Cal, and SMU joining the ACC gained serious traction. The three universities, known for their strong athletic programs and academic prestige, were courted by multiple conferences. However, it was the ACC that ultimately won their favor.

The Vote

The decision to admit new members to a conference is by no means a simple one. It involves a complex voting process, intensive negotiations, and careful consideration of various factors. In the case of Stanford, Cal, and SMU’s admission into the ACC, the voting occurred during a closed-door meeting held in a luxury hotel in Miami, Florida.

The exact details of the vote remain confidential, but insiders suggest that it was a close call. Representatives from each member institution, including presidents, athletic directors, and conference officials, cast their votes after a period of discussion and deliberation. The final count revealed a slim majority in favor of admitting the three new teams into the ACC.

Arguments for Admission

Several arguments were made in favor of Stanford, Cal, and SMU’s inclusion in the ACC. Firstly, their addition strengthens the conference’s overall athletic competitiveness, particularly in football and basketball. Secondly, these universities bring significant academic prestige, aligning well with the ACC’s commitment to excellence both on and off the field. Moreover, the geographical proximity of Stanford, Cal, and SMU to existing ACC members fosters natural rivalries and increases fan interest, ultimately benefiting the conference financially.

Implications for Existing ACC Schools

The addition of Stanford, Cal, and SMU to the ACC has both positive and negative implications for the existing member institutions. On the positive side, the conference gains three highly regarded athletic programs that could bolster the ACC’s national reputation. This increased competitive strength may attract better recruits, enhance conference television ratings, and potentially elevate the conference’s chances of securing more lucrative media rights deals.

However, the move also poses challenges for existing ACC schools. The addition of three new teams means more competition for athletic resources and conference recognition. Some fear that traditional powerhouses within the ACC, like Clemson, Florida State, and Duke, may see their prominence diminish in the face of these new rivals. Additionally, existing rivalries may be strained or even displaced by the emergence of new cross-conference matchups.

The Next Steps

With the vote concluded and Stanford, Cal, and SMU set to join the ACC in the 2024-25 season, the next steps involve formalizing the agreement and addressing any logistical challenges that may arise. The conference will need to revise its scheduling, divisional alignments, and tournament structures to accommodate the expanded membership. This process will require careful planning and collaboration among institutions, conference officials, and television partners.

Looking Ahead

The addition of Stanford, Cal, and SMU to the ACC marks a significant turning point in college sports history. It demonstrates the ever-evolving nature of conference realignment and raises questions about the stability of traditional alliances. As the 2024-25 season approaches, fans and stakeholders eagerly anticipate the reshaped landscape of the ACC and the newfound rivalries that will ignite on the fields and courts of the conference.


The decision for Stanford, Cal, and SMU to join the ACC was not made lightly. Through a close vote and extensive discussions, representatives from the conference ultimately decided to welcome these three prestigious universities into their fold. The move has both positive and negative implications for the existing ACC schools and calls for careful planning moving forward. As the college sports world braces for this shift, only time will tell how this decision will impact the ACC and the larger landscape of collegiate athletics.


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