Big Ten joins Pac-12, ACC in conference alliance

The Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC announced on Tuesday that they would work closely together on the future of varsity athletics and form a planning alliance. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

After Texas and Oklahoma announced their intention to join the Southeast Conference in late July, the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Atlantic Coastal Conference chose to form a conference alliance to prepare for the changing landscape of the collegiate athletics.

The three conferences announced Tuesday that they will work closely together on the future of college athletics and form a planning alliance. While the conferences will always be competitive on the pitch, they will collaborate on issues such as NIL and the future structure of the NCAA.

“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 conferences,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “Today, through this alliance, we have strengthened our commitment to our student-athletes by prioritizing our academic and athletic value systems. We create opportunities for student-athletes to participate in elite competition and take the necessary steps to shape and stabilize the future of varsity athletics. “

The alliance will include programming stipulations for football, men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports and will create new interconference showdowns. The programming aspect will begin as soon as possible, but each conference will still have to honor its current media contractual obligations.

In football, the programming alliance will seek to create renowned showdowns between the three conferences. On the basketball side, conferences will add early and mid-season games alongside annual events that will include matchups between them. The Big Ten already has an annual event with the ACC, in the form of the Big Ten-ACC Men’s Basketball Challenge.

The programming alliance will also extend to Olympic sports, as the three conferences will seek opportunities to program events between them.

The alliance will also not include any anti-SEC stipulations, and teams will still be freely allowed to schedule matches with SEC teams.

As the three conferences are aligned in their efforts to better prepare for the future of varsity sport, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has confirmed that there is no written agreement in place. He said all of these efforts are built on the commitments of each commissioner, university president and athletic director at the conferences.

“We’re aligned with how we want to approach this, but there’s no contract. There is no signed document and there is no need, ”Kliavkoff said.

While Texas and Oklahoma are expected to fully join the SEC in July 2025, Warren said there was no timeline in place for the alliance to be implemented.

Warren added that each conference will always follow their current TV and media contracts.

The Big Ten commissioner also said the conference is expected to potentially reduce the number of conference games from nine to eight.

As the alliance appears to be gearing up for the future of varsity athletics, Warren said he hopes it will be a stabilizing force in an unknown era in varsity sport.

“Being able to work with George and [ACC commissioner] Jim (Phillips) in this alliance with our respective conferences is really special, ”Warren said at a press conference Tuesday. “What this means is that there is still a lot of goodness in varsity athletics. It is an opportunity for us to come together in a strong alliance to work together. ”

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