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ACC to add Cal, Stanford and SMU in expansion move

The Clemson football team has won seven of the last eight ACC Championships, but the Tigers will have more competition when Stanford, Cal and SMU join the conference in 2024.

Big changes are coming to the ACC after the conference’s presidents and chancellors voted Friday morning to add Cal, Stanford and SMU to the conference beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, according to multiple reports.

With the move, the ACC will have 18 teams in 2024 for all sports outside of football, which will have 17 teams due to Notre Dame being an independent program.

To add the three schools, the ACC needed 12 of 15 programs to vote “yes,” a benchmark that was reached on Friday. However, Clemson was against the expansion move and was one of the few teams that voted “no,” according to On3’s Matt Connolly.

“Clemson’s leadership has been aligned and consistent throughout this process, and continues to position our University for long-term success,” Clemson University said in a statement. “We respect the conference membership’s decision and welcome the University of California-Berkeley, Southern Methodist University and Stanford University to the ACC.”

Along with Clemson, Florida State and UNC voted against the move. After initially being opposed to the expansion, NC State ultimately flipped its vote to be the 12th school needed to finalize the addition, according to The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach.

“We are thrilled to welcome three world-class institutions to the ACC, and we look forward to having them compete as part of our amazing league,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement. “Throughout the evaluation process, the ACC Board of Directors, led by President (James) Ryan, was deliberate in prioritizing the best possible athletic and academic experience for our student-athletes and in ensuring that the three universities would strengthen the league in all possible ways. Cal, SMU and Stanford will be terrific members of the ACC and we are proud to welcome their student-athletes, coaches, staff and entire campus community, alumni and fans.”

UNC publicly opposed the move by releasing a statement Thursday evening, hours before the vote.

“The strong majority of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees opposes the proposed expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference to include Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Southern Methodist University,” the statement read. “Although we respect the academic excellence and the athletic programs of those institutions, the travel distances for routine in-conference competitive play are too great for this arrangement to make sense for our student athletes, coaches, alumni and fans.”

After the addition of Cal, Stanford and SMU was finalized, Florida State issued a statement as well, publicly stating it voted “no” to the expansion.

“We appreciate the efforts of Commissioner Phillips and our conference partners,” FSU president Richard McCullough said. “There are many complicated factors that led us to vote no. That said, we welcome these truly outstanding institutions and look forward to working with them as our new partners in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

The ACC’s move comes after the Big Ten and SEC have both poached several programs over the last few years, most recently in early August when the Big Ten added Oregon and Washington.

This is a developing story. The Tiger will update this article with additional information as it becomes available.

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Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
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