Either way, even half that salary would be a significant improvement over what Clemson has gotten from the ACC in recent years.
Last season, B1G generated nearly $680 million in revenue, with each school receiving $46.1 million. The SEC raised $777.8 million to give each member $54.7 million. Meanwhile, ACC schools each received $36.1 million, actually $6 million more than in 2020 due to Notre Dame joining the conference for a year. which means that even that is not sustainable.
The SEC and B1G will continue to expand their media agreements and encourage more schools to join. Teams from the “lower” conferences (ACC, Big-12, and PAC-12) will struggle with NIL deals and recruiting because people want to play against the best and be on screen the most.
Oklahoma and Texas started a movement when they dropped the Big-12 for the SEC last year. Top programs from the PAC-12 (Oregon and Washington) and ACC (Clemson, Florida State and Miami) will be scrambling to find a place in the new BFC bipartisan structure. All other conferences will be at a distinct disadvantage.
The Tigers have been members of the ACC since 1953, so it will be hard for some fans to accept that it’s time to move on. However, if Dabo Swinney and the Tigers want to maintain their reputation at the top of college football, Clemson should move to B1G (not the SEC).
Why the B1G is a better fit
The SEC does not mention the educational commitments of their universities at all in their mission statement, unlike the B1G and the ACC. Their only objective is to earn money and to improve their players from a sporting point of view. Here is the statement from the SEC:
“We develop and regulate the capital market and company registration; promote good corporate governance; empower investors, corporations and entrepreneurs; and facilitating access to financial products and resources.
Meanwhile, the B1G has many of the best institutions in the country, just like the ACC. Their statement speaks to the quality of the conference universities and their educational and charitable goals.
“The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, higher, professional and undergraduate education, and public service.”
The B1G racks up millions through its athleticism and it’s only growing, but its mission continues to promote the pursuit of education and charity by universities. This is exactly why Clemson enrolls in the B1G: it’s more than just a sports conference. They are a community of equals committed to advancing the lives of young men, regardless of the path life takes them.
The SEC may have more national championships and bigger NIL deals, but none of that matters if the Tigers’ program and values stick out like a sore thumb. There are already two Tigers in the SEC, they don’t need a third…Instead, let’s show these Northeasts how we descend into Death Valley.
That being said, it’s not as simple as signing a dotted line. The Tigers are much closer to the SEC schools and there are significant barriers to conference changes. Ultimately, it seems more likely that Clemson will end up at the SEC.
Why they might end up in the SEC anyway
The B1G has always required that prospective conference members be part of the American Association of Universities, which is an organization of research institutions. Clemson is not currently a member, according to Fanside. Nebraska is an exception to that norm, so the B1G may be willing to bend the rules for a powerhouse like Clemson. However, that remains to be seen.
On the other hand, the SEC has schools within two hours of Clemson and they don’t have an AAU rule. There have already been reports that the SEC will target Clemson, Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech from the ACC.
Since 2015, Clemson is 12-4 against SEC teams and every loss has come against this season’s eventual national champion, according to Clemson SID Tim Bourret. So the conference might not be a fantastic fit for the school, but Dabo Swinney’s boys still have a natural chip on their shoulder against the SEC due to closeness and status. It would only intensify that atmosphere and create epic rivalries, some of which already exist against South Carolina and Alabama.
Ultimately, it’s in the Tigers’ best interest to join B1G or the SEC, who they can strike a deal with. The only way for Clemson to establish itself as one of the best programs in history is to commit to playing against the best. Tiger fans should stay alert for any conference-related news, as this could all unfold quite quickly.