Last week, Max Olson of The Athletic reported that the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 Conferences are “engaging in high-level discussions about an alliance.” On Friday, Nicole Auerbach, also of the Athletic, followed up that report by saying sources have said a formal announcement about the alliance between the three conferences is expected “soon.”
News: The Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC are expected to make a formal announcement about their alignment soon, perhaps as early as next week, multiple sources told @TheAthletic.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 20, 2021
This isn't just about scheduling. More: https://t.co/OyBicG7uiv
According to Olson’s initial report, Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren and ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips have been “having conversations for several weeks.” The potential alliance is believed to be a direct response to the SEC poaching Texas and Oklahoma away from the Big 12 and expanding its power— although the Big 12 is not expected to be part of the alliance, at least not right away.
What exactly an alliance between the three Power Five conferences entails is still a bit of a mystery, but Auerbach reports that the schools within each conference seem to align with their beliefs of putting an emphasis on academics, graduating student-athletes and offering a broader based list of athletics available — for example, Big Ten schools on average offer close to 25 sports per campus, with the ACC and Pac-12 just slightly behind that number, while SEC schools are under 20 sports per campus on average, according to The Athletic.
The alliance will also likely impact the future college football schedule, which could mean more big-time matchups between the schools in each of the three conferences. This will of course also affect future television contracts if it comes to fruition.
Auerbach also reports that the three commissioners could use the opportunity to align and delay the proposed expanded College Football Playoff, which could go from four teams to 12 teams if finalized, after the 12-team playoff idea was officially proposed by the CFP management committee in June. Athletic directors in all three conferences expressed issues with the proposed expansion.
After facing a global pandemic, the NCAA is in the midst of a transformative period with name, image and likeness opportunities now available to student-athletes, and with the NCAA now reviewing ways in which to reform its governance, starting with a “constitutional convention” planned for November. The alliance between the three conferences — whatever that will look like — could be another step in a much different looking NCAA landscape moving forward.
Stay updated with The Only Colors as this story develops.