Cal, Stanford sports join the Atlantic Coast Conference | September 8, 2023 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 8, 2023

Cal, Stanford sports join the Atlantic Coast Conference

The move comes following the implosion of the Pacific-12 Conference

by Keith Burbank

A collegiate sports conference on the East Coast is extending its reach all the way to the West Coast after it announced Friday, Sept. 1, that the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University will join.

The two Bay Area universities, well-known for academics, will join the Atlantic Coast Conference, which includes schools such as Clemson University, University of Notre Dame, University of North Carolina and Duke University.

Also joining the ACC will be Southern Methodist University, which makes its home in Dallas. The move comes following the implosion of the Pacific-12 Conference, the previous home of UC Berkeley and Stanford.

"This is a significant day for the ACC as we welcome Cal, SMU and Stanford to this incredible conference," University of Virginia president James Ryan, chair of the ACC Board of Directors, said in a statement. "This expansion will enhance and strengthen the league now and in the future."

The end of the Pac-12 Conference started last year when the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California left for the Big Ten conference.

Before Cal and Stanford joined the ACC, the Pac-12 was down to four teams, which also included Oregon State University and Washington State University.

A conference needs at least eight teams to exist. UC Berkeley officials said the university's move follows significant conference realignment in recent years.

For UC Berkeley, the move will help provide elite competition for its students athletically and help the university financially. No athletic conference has won more NCAA championships in the last two years than the ACC.

"We are very pleased with the outcome, which will support the best interests of our student-athletes and aligns with Berkeley's values," UC Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ said in a statement.

"We are confident that the ACC and its constituent institutions are an excellent match for our university and will provide an elite competitive context for our student-athletes in this changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics," Christ added.

Stanford University president Richard Saller said, "Student-athletes come to Stanford to pursue their highest academic and athletic potential, and joining the ACC gives us the ability to continue offering them that opportunity at a national level."

With the addition of Cal, Stanford and SMU, the ACC will have 18 teams. The ACC's three new teams will begin competing against the conference's current schools starting in the next academic year.

"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," Phillips added. n


Posted by Brady Phelps
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 2, 2023 at 7:39 am

Brady Phelps is a registered user.

While this is an opportunity to compete among some top-ranked collegiate football teams, having to travel back east on a regular basis is not an ideal scenario.

Stanford and Cal should be situated in a more local conference even if it means creating a new one comprised of west coast teams.

Though not as attractive as the ACC conference line-up, a smaller regional PAC-8 conference comprised of Stanford, Cal, San Jose State, San Diego State, Oregon State, Washington State, Portland State, and possibly UC Davis makes far more sense.

Posted by Penelope Walsh
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2023 at 1:17 pm

Penelope Walsh is a registered user.

The prime ACC football teams that Stanford will have to play in conference competition will ensure a decade of losing seasons.

Brady Phelp's suggestion makes better sense...why bite off more than one can chew?

Posted by Mort Crawford
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 4, 2023 at 4:01 pm

Mort Crawford is a registered user.

If Stanford lowered their admission standards like USC, Ohio State, and various SEC football teams, they might faire better when it comes to playing the premier nationally ranked teams.

Not every college 'student-athlete' is college material and many football and baseball collegiate players don't even complete their college degrees because they have professional ambitions and are allowed to take easy classes to maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA NCAA requirement.

The college students who are not athletically gifted should probably focus more on their studies instead.

Posted by Giselle Knox
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 4, 2023 at 6:42 pm

Giselle Knox is a registered user.

It is very difficult to attend college classes while being committed to extensive after hours practice for sports-related activities.

Where's the time for reading, completing course assignments, and studying for midterms/finals?

College athletes are professionals because they are now eligible for product endorsements and paid appearances, something the NCAA tried to squash.

And if they are really good in football or baseball, they hardly need a 4-year degree in some unemployable discipline like the humanities or liberal arts (two of the easiest college degrees if one can read).

Just stay focused and stay healthy.

Posted by College Terrace Native
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 5, 2023 at 4:30 pm

College Terrace Native is a registered user.

Brady Phelps nailed it. That’s what should have been created. This ACC thing can still be turned around. As a loyal SU football fan since ‘64, let’s keep it west coast. Now for a less diplomatic reflection on this change (including the write up by ACC officials).
Over the past four-decades, college ball has become about money contracts for TV coverage. The extra cash pays for acquiring the expensive coaches (who typically make X3 what the campus President gets paid) and finances all the other sports that have comparative low attendance offered at a given college. Next, all the college players on the top 15 teams, typically of color, would not otherwise be accepted to the same universities (and this from a previous jock and college professor who witnessed this process over my 30 year career - and no big surprise ). In short, college ball has a history of an increasing form of professional status especially with players now able to gain compensation. I’ve always argued for a semi-pro feeder league (filled with non-college bound candidates) and then an actual student-athlete model with us slower follow white guys! However, there is too much money at stake for that change. The same can be said of basketball. And where a university can’t make the top 10 academically they can nonetheless have top ten bragging rights, name recognition, and millions of dollars . Also, a chance for many persons of color to gain a college degree not otherwise possible (or an individual of a white ancestry but similarly situated, i.e., lower socioeconomic status certainly of no fault of their own). Bottom line (ironic term when we know why the PAC 12 imploded and why USC and UCLA began their economic exodus), college football has alas, for better or worse, gone pro except for the lower leagues.

Posted by Jenna Walsh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2023 at 1:00 pm

Jenna Walsh is a registered user.

Junior colleges could also serve as a stepping stone to professional sports for those less academically inclined.

OJ Simpson attended San Francisco Junior College prior to being recruited by USC due to his low grades. After two years at USC, he was the #1 AFC draft pick in 1969. Chances are he could have played at a high level in pro football after only 2 years at junior college. Why waste time in college?

LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant went into the NBA right out of high school. To have spent time playing college basketball would have been a complete waste of their talents, not to mention the risk of suffering a career ending injury.

The truly gifted athletes do not need to go to college unless they have the desire to or are participating in a collegiate sport with minimal professional opportunities.

Both Tiger Woods and John McEnroe didn't need a Stanford diploma. They bailed out to turn pro at the earliest opportunity. A good call on their part.

Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 6, 2023 at 3:54 pm

Pat Markevitch is a registered user.

"No athletic conference has won more NCAA championships in the last two years than the ACC."

Let's look at the overall breadth of NCAA Championships.

Stanford holds 134 NC's. Cal has 42 for a combined total of 176.

The ACC schools total 153 NC's. Stanford and Cal will more than double the NC's won by the 17 ACC schools.

Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 6, 2023 at 4:08 pm

Pat Markevitch is a registered user.

Stanford and Cal will more than double the NC's won by the 17 ACC schools.

I meant to write Stanford and Cal have more NC's than the 17 ACC schools.

*This is what happens when you hit submit before you finish your edits.*

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