SMU has raised more than $100 million in seven days to help its transition to the ACC next year, the school announced Monday. Here’s what you need to know.
- On Sept. 1, SMU accepted an invitation to join the ACC alongside Stanford and Cal, beginning next season. As part of that agreement, sources familiar with the arrangement said SMU will forgo nine years of ACC television money, around $24 million per year.
- SMU boosters told The Athletic they plan to give more than $200 million to offset the absent TV money.
- This $100 million was raised by a small group of 30 donors, according to the school.
- In addition to this money, SMU announced that men’s basketball season ticket sales have jumped 30 percent since the Sept. 1 announcement, and “hundreds” of new football season tickets have been sold as well.
SMU will be one of the smallest schools in the Power 5, with an enrollment of just over 12,000 and fewer than 8,000 undergraduates. It’s always been a small private school, but it’s also always had deep-pocketed donors, including several Texas energy magnates. That’s paid off in facilities and more recently the name, image and likeness space. One collective says it pays SMU football players and men’s basketball players $36,000 each.
One of those billionaires is David B. Miller, a former SMU basketball player who got rich in the energy sector and has been on the school’s board of trustees for more than a decade. He’s currently its chair.
What they’re saying
“When we announced on September 1 that SMU would be joining the ACC, I was highly confident that we would be able to cover the cost of the transition into what is one of the top three collegiate athletic conferences in the country,” Miller said in a statement. “To be able to raise this level of support in such a short period of time is astounding. It is an incredible start in our campaign to position SMU to compete for championships. I cannot express how grateful I am for the visionary leadership it demonstrates.”
“This is an unprecedented financial commitment from a core group of donors who have understood from the beginning that moving to the ACC will be transformational for our university on both athletic and academic levels,” SMU president President R. Gerald Turner said in a release. “While there is still much work to be done, the ability to rally this kind of support in just one short week demonstrates that SMU and Dallas recognize the excellence of this opportunity and are stepping up to support it.”
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