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ACC schools agree to grant TV rights to league, making it tougher to leave the conference

The Atlantic Coast Conference presidents have agreed for the league to retain media rights for a school that leaves the conference.

The league said Monday each of the current and future schools has signed the deal, which is effective immediately.

The grant of rights would appear to make the league more stable by essentially locking all 15 schools into the ACC through the length of a TV deal, including eventual new arrivals Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville. Awarding control of those TV rights — and, more importantly, the money that comes with them — to the league means that a school would have to leave its TV rights behind if it chose to go elsewhere.

Those rights would stay with the ACC, meaning the departing school wouldn't bring any added TV value to a new league's broadcast package.

The ACC is the fourth major conference to approve a grant of TV rights, joining the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12.

"This announcement further highlights the continued solidarity and commitment by our member institutions," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. "The Council of Presidents has shown tremendous leadership in insuring the ACC is extremely well positioned with unlimited potential."

The move, first reported by The ACC Sports Journal, would be a promising sign of stability for the ACC, which had been besieged by rumors that some of its highest-profile members might consider following Maryland out the door and jumping leagues. Its existing TV deal with ESPN runs through the 2026-27 season.

The league will add Pittsburgh and Syracuse in all sports this summer, while Notre Dame will join in all league sports except football. Louisville — which won the NCAA men's title, reached the NCAA women's final and won the Sugar Bowl this season — will replace Maryland in 2014.

The ACC and ESPN extended their TV deal last May, which was worth $3.6 billion over 15 years with an average of about $17.1 million for each of the 14 schools. That was up from a 12-year deal worth $1.86 billion — more than $12.9 million per school — announced in July 2010.

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AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.