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Deion Sanders Talks CFB Realignment: 'You Can Really Call It Chasing the Bag'

Adam WellsJuly 16, 2022

Set Number: X164055 TK1

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders offered a frank assessment of the ongoing realignment taking place throughout college football.

Appearing on SportsCenter (starts at 2:00 mark) on Saturday, Sanders noted that realignment is just a way of "chasing the bag" with programs across the country trying to make the most money possible.

College football has been in chaos in recent years with several teams across the country switching conferences.

The most significant change came in July 2021 when Oklahoma and Texas unanimously voted to accept invitations from the SEC and leave the Big 12.

Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman reported last month that 2024 was a realistic target date for the schools to join the SEC.

Per CNBC's Jabari Young, Texas and Oklahoma could earn more than $60 million annually in the SEC. They earned $34.5 million from the Big 12 in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

In the wake of the move, the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 announced an alliance to bring the schools in those conferences together "on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling."

That didn't last long, as the Big Ten announced June 30 that UCLA and USC accepted invitations to join the conference for the 2024-25 academic year.

Per Matt Bonesteel of the Washington Post, UCLA and USC are likely to earn in the neighborhood of $80 million per season in the Big Ten.

New Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark told reporters this week that the conference was "open for business" as it looks to attract new schools with the looming departures by Oklahoma and Texas.

The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach noted there has been speculation that all this movement will lead to two megaconferences, with the Big Ten and SEC fielding "20 or more members apiece."

Realignment has been going on for years prior to these recent seismic shifts. Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville joined the ACC within the past 10 years, and Notre Dame also joined the conference in 2013 in all sports except football.

BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston are set to join the Big 12 in 2023.

There will almost certainly be something lost in college football with realignment taking away traditional rivalries that have helped endear the sport to fans across the country. But with so much money on the table, it's no surprise schools are maximizing their earning potential.

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