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Stanford, California, and SMU join Syracuse in the ACC as it expands to 18 schools

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The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) revealed its expansion plans on Friday, as the league’s decision-makers greenlit the addition of former Pac-12 institutions Stanford and California, as well as SMU.

This move elevates the ACC’s total membership to 18 schools. Starting with the 2024-25 academic year, 17 out of these 18 members will actively participate in full-time football, with Notre Dame being the only exception.

“Today marks a monumental step for the ACC, and we’re thrilled to have Cal, SMU, and Stanford join our ranks,” stated James E. Ryan, the University of Virginia President and chair of the ACC Board of Directors. The expansion initiative faced prior resistance from several schools, including North Carolina, which disclosed that a majority of its board had initially been against the decision. However, the proposal garnered the essential support from 12 out of the 15 member schools to proceed.

Following the departure of eight schools from the Pac-12, both Stanford and California remained loyal to the conference.

However, this recent shift leaves the league’s future for remaining members Oregon State and Washington State in limbo. SMU’s inclusion in the ACC is significant, given the university’s transformation in the sports realm after enduring years at the lower ranks of the Bowl Subdivision.

This departure reduces the American Athletic Conference’s membership to 13 teams. Addressing this change, American commissioner Mike Aresco declared the league’s intent to explore potential member schools that align with its current geographic presence, ruling out westward expansion.