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Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC Officially Announce Alliance in Response to SEC Expansion

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2021

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 announced an alliance Tuesday that will include "a scheduling component" for both football and men's and women's basketball with the intent 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." 

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement:

"Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 Conferences. 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 new alliance comes after the SEC added two huge Big 12 programs to its ranks. Texas and Oklahoma bump the SEC's membership to 16 teams, but the move casts the future of the Big 12 into doubt.

Both schools will join the SEC on July 1, 2025. 

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

Big Ten commish Kevin Warren on the new ACC-Big Ten-Pac-12 alliance: "There's turbulence in college athletics. We need to have strong leadership. We need to work together."

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Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren: “We need to make sure we have shared values, we keep academics first, we keep our integrity, our honor and our collaboration together." No one is even trying to hide that this is a broadside at the SEC.

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

It’s gonna be the SEC vs. The Rest of the World.

Brett McMurphy @Brett_McMurphy

SEC source just brought up great point: “Then why isn’t the Alliance including the Big 12?" <a href="https://t.co/I4rk6TLxNP">https://t.co/I4rk6TLxNP</a>

While the press release didn't state it—and the three conferences are likely to deny it—it seems the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 will focus on scheduling nonconference games against one another, potentially shutting out the SEC. Tuesday's news suggests the conferences will, at minimum, encourage their schools to schedule nonconference games within the alliance.

Granted, the schools have contractual obligations for upcoming seasons.

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

The only specifics about scheduling in the news release:<br><br>"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."

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

A key detail on the new ACC-Big Ten-Pac-12 alliance: "The scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations." Lots of games have already been scheduled years in advance so there's much to be sorted out on that front.

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

Kliavkoff: There is no intent in the alliance to prevent their schools from scheduling games against other conferences.

Brandon Marcello @bmarcello

No contract signed among THE ALLIANCE. "There's an agreement among three gentlemen," says <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pac12?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pac12</a> commish George Kliavkoff.

Dan Wolken @DanWolken

Bruce Feldman follows up on having no binding contract to the alliance. Jim Phillips: "It’s about trust. We’ve looked each other in the eye and made it an agreement."

The announcement also comes after new NIL rules were put into place, allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. It's possible the three conferences will look to align on rules and regulations regarding NIL guidelines.

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

Tuesday's news creates more questions for the future of college sports—namely, college football—than it provides answers, further evidence that college athletics are in flux.

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