- Sep 9, 2015
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The alliance will go beyond scheduling and television inventory, though specifics are scarce
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.