Clemson Football

Roddy Jones on expansion fears: 'When the music stops, you are left on the outside"

July 13, 2022

The day after it was announced that Southern Cal and UCLA were headed to the Big Ten, we caught up with Roddy Jones from the ACC Network to discuss the ramifications of the move.

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On his initial reaction to the news:

"I think it's shock more than anything, and there's sort of a denial that goes along with it. Like, can this be true? Is there any way that this is false? Really the only time that one of these has come out and it's been false has been Texas to the PAC 12-- but since then, John Skipper who was the president of ESPN at the time-- basically said Texas to the PAC 12 was a done deal (the PAC 10 at the time). ESPN came in and saved basically the Big 12 through the Longhorn Network and an unequal distribution of what was going to be the new Big 12. That being the only time it was really wrong when these reports came out.”

On no one seeing it coming:

“You sort of had to start the shock of wow, I didn't, I did not obviously see this coming. You know, we kind of get lulled into this false sense of security, yelling at each other about NIL and transfer portal – like things that are going to fundamentally change college football. While we're all yelling at each other about what the student-athletes are doing, the grown-ups in the room are scheming to basically create an entire conference. So I'm just really glad that we all got distracted by that stuff and stopped, stopped asking the questions that were really important, like, 'Hey, what the hell is this alliance going to be? What is it going to do? And what's it going to protect?' And the answer is absolutely nothing. So I was pretty surprised. And you know, there was some of the cynicism that came with the rest of it. But it's certainly something that changes the landscape of college sports."

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On how he sees it playing out:

"Well, I think it's very clear on the SEC, Big Ten front that they are not done. I think the Big Ten will be more aggressive in the short term and the SEC is going to play the long game. Because if you're looking at the future on who you would want to add, the SEC is going to have to wait for Clemson for Florida State for Miami to be closer towards the end of the ACC Grant of Rights to go after those schools. The Big Ten, on the other hand, has the ability to go after some of the West Coast schools, you know, we got word that Oregon and Washington are absolutely not moving. I don't think that's the case-- I don't know if the Big Ten can approach them, but maybe those administrators reach out, which would be irresponsible if they didn't. Southern Cal and UCLA needed a West Coast contingent to continue to play-- so it makes sense-- especially for their non-revenue sports. So I could see them being aggressive. If I'm the Big 12, I'm taking an aggressive standpoint, I'm gonna play some offense, see if you can get Utah so you didn't get Colorado. See if you can get the Arizona schools.“

On how the ACC should respond:

"I think the ACC should look to be aggressive as well. Notre Dame has all been off the table at this point. But can you figure out some other schools so that you can solidify your conference? Because right now  I think there's a real debate to be had on which conference has more long-term stability, the Big 12 or the ACC, I would argue it's the Big 12 because of where they have ended up in this whole thing and their ability to be aggressive with some schools that really makes sense. Whereas the ACC is kind of a target going forward unless it's aggressive and starts to add some. I think the Big Ten and SEC are certainly going to grow when that's gonna happen, I don't know. But the ACC should be aggressive and the Big 12 should be as well."

On the potential that someone challenges the Grant of Rights:

"The biggest fear of everybody who's not in one of those leagues right now is that when the music stops, you are left on the outside looking in, and you're not able to compete, to the level that that that you would like to. Especially if you're one of those schools that has a rabid fan base that expects to be good and football. If you're in NC State, you're terrified because right now you are on the outside looking in and your fan base does expect to be playing big-time football. Same to Pittsburgh, which the fan base isn't quite as extensive as NC State, at least, if you're looking, if you look at the attendance and Heinz Field, but it's a group that expects that has a tradition that expects to be playing high-level football. So to answer your question, what makes me confident that no one will challenge it-- nothing?"


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Roddy Jones on expansion fears: 'When the music stops, you are left on the outside"

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