The Big Ten, PAC 10, ACC Alliance Arrives

Ignatius L Hoops

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Once word broke in July that Oklahoma and Texas planned on leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, the gears turned quickly on making that seismic shift a reality. Similarly, the other three power conferences appear to be moving quickly on an alliance to counter the SEC's aggressiveness in the ever-changing landscape of college athletics.

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reports the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 are "expected to make a formal announcement about their alignment soon, perhaps as early as next week." The news comes just one week after CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd and The Athletic initially reported the trio were actively engaged in discussions about forming a scheduling alliance.

While scheduling does appear to be a focal point of the alliance, it is not the only one. Academics, governance and other broad-based issues are also cornerstones as the three leagues make their next step in response to the SEC's expansion and influence. David Hale of ESPN reported Friday that name, image and likeness (NIL), playoff expansion and legal issues related to the NCAA vs. Alston case could be some of those focal points.

"This is not down on them [SEC], but given some of the movement that occurred, I think this is the right decision to be made to have that conversation amongst the three of us and to really form this alliance that sort of thinks about things on a more consistent basis than just waiting for our annual NCAA meeting," Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel told reporters on Thursday, per the Detroit News.


Still, it's easy to see why the three power conferences -- all of which feature fairly new commissioners -- would team up in response to Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC. Television money and College Football Playoff access are front and center items that will need to be addressed. Athletic directors in all three conferences have expressed concerns over the new 12-team playoff format in light of the SEC's expansion.

And, in the name of collegiate athletics, each of the three conferences also share a like-mindedness about academics. However, it's not clear how the NCAA, which has seen its presence in major college athletics diminish recently, would factor in -- if at all.


What does appear clear is that the eight remaining Big 12 teams are not part of the discussion, at least for now. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby previously discussed a potential scheduling agreement with new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, but so far nothing publicly has come out of those discussions.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Announcement from the "Alliance" includes a couple of things that potentially impact women's basketball.

Item One:
"In women’s and men’s basketball, the three conferences will add early and mid-season games as well as annual events that feature premier matchups between the three leagues."

Item Two (depends on the future of the NCAA
  • Future structure of the NCAA





GREENSBORO, NC & ROSEMONT, IL & SAN FRANCISCO, CA –
The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 today announced an historic alliance that will bring 41 world-class institutions together on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling.

The alliance – which was unanimously supported by the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors at all 41 institutions – will be guided in all cases by a commitment to, and prioritization of, supporting student-athlete well-being, academic and athletic opportunities, experiences and diverse educational programming. The three conferences are grounded in their support of broad-based athletic programs, the collegiate model and opportunities for student-athletes as part of the educational missions of the institutions.

The three conferences remain competitors in every sense but are committed to collaborating and providing thought leadership on various opportunities and challenges facing college athletics, including:
  • Student-athlete mental and physical health, safety, wellness and support
  • Strong academic experience and support
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Social justice
  • Gender equity
  • Future structure of the NCAA
  • Federal legislative efforts
  • Postseason championships and future formats
The alliance includes a scheduling component for football and women’s and men’s basketball designed to create new inter-conference games, enhance opportunities for student-athletes, and optimize the college athletics experience for both student-athletes and fans across the country. The scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations. A working group comprised of athletic directors representing the three conferences will oversee the scheduling component of the alliance, including determining the criteria upon which scheduling decisions will be made. All three leagues and their respective institutions understand that scheduling decisions will be an evolutionary process given current scheduling commitments.

The football scheduling alliance will feature additional attractive matchups across the three conferences while continuing to honor historic rivalries and the best traditions of college football.

In women’s and men’s basketball, the three conferences will add early and mid-season games as well as annual events that feature premier matchups between the three leagues.

The three conferences will also explore opportunities for the vast and exceptional Olympic Sports programs to compete more frequently and forge additional attractive and meaningful rivalries.

The future scheduling component will benefit student-athletes and fans by offering new and memorable experiences that will extend coast-to-coast, across all time zones. The competition will bring a new level of excitement to the fans of the 41 schools while also allowing teams and conferences to have flexibility to continue to play opponents from other conferences, independents and various teams from other subdivisions.

“The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 recognize the unique environment and challenges currently facing intercollegiate athletics, and we are proud and confident in this timely and necessary alliance that brings together like-minded institutions and conferences focused on the overall educational missions of our preeminent institutions,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “The alliance will ensure that the educational outcomes and experiences for student-athletes participating at the highest level of collegiate athletics will remain the driving factor in all decisions moving forward.”

“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 Conferences” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “Today, through this alliance, we furthered our commitment to our student-athletes by prioritizing our academics and athletics value systems. We are creating opportunities for student-athletes to have elite competition and are taking the necessary steps to shape and stabilize the future of college athletics.”

“The historic alliance announced today between the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten is grounded in a commitment to our student-athletes,” said Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff. “We believe that collaborating together we are stronger in our commitment to addressing the broad issues and opportunities facing college athletics.”

The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences include:
  • World-leading academic institutions committed to the shared values of supporting the next generation of leaders.
  • Innovative research that benefits communities around the world.
  • 27 of the 34 Autonomy 5 members in Association of American Universities (AAU).
  • 34 institutions ranked in the Top 100 national universities by US News & World Report.
  • Broad-based athletic and academic programs.
  • A long heritage of leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Over 27,000 student-athletes competing on 863 teams in 31 sports.
  • A combined 1,019 NCAA Championships.
  • Longstanding relationships across bowl partnerships, men’s and women’s basketball challenges and Olympic Sport events.
  • 194 Olympic medals won in Tokyo by current, former and future student-athletes.
  • Some of the most iconic and historic venues in college sports.
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in direct annual institutional support of student-athlete scholarships.
  • Over $15 billion in annual federal research support, nearly one-third of the total across all colleges and universities.
Quotes from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 CEO chairs:

Duke University President & Chair of the ACC Board of Directors Vincent E. Price
“The alliance is first and foremost a statement about the vital connection of academic excellence to college athletics. Our members include 41 of the top public and private universities in the world which will soon have new ways to compete at the very highest levels in sports, and to collaborate in education, research and service to society. Together we will be able to use our strong voice and united vision to create the best possible experience for our student-athletes and institutions.”

University of Wisconsin Chancellor and Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) Chair Dr. Rebecca Blank:
“The Big Ten Conference has always prioritized academic excellence as well as athletic excellence for student-athletes. Today’s announcement reinforces the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness among all members of this alliance and provides additional opportunities for our student-athletes to enhance their collegiate experience.”

University of Oregon President & Chair of the Pac-12 Board of Directors Michael Schill
"The Pac-12 is thrilled to join with so many world-class universities in a collaborative effort to support our student-athletes through an unwavering commitment to excellence in academics and athletics.Together we can help shape a future for college athletics where broad-based athletic programs in concert with educational opportunities allow us to support the next generation of leaders."

 

Ignatius L Hoops

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The Pac-12 is expected to announce in the next few days if it's interested in adding new members to the 12-team conference, commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN on Tuesday.

"We'll announce a decision on whether or not we're going to be looking at expansion before the end of this week," Kliavkoff said. "That decision has been run on a parallel path to the conversations with [Big Ten commissioner] Kevin [Warren] and [ACC commissioner] Jim [Phillips] and the Big Ten and the ACC."

While the recent agreement between the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC was done in large part to stabilize a volatile collegiate landscape still reeling from the decision of Big 12 co-founders Texas and Oklahoma to join the SEC, it doesn't contractually prevent those conferences from trying to add schools -- namely, any of the eight schools who would be left in the Big 12
 




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