Saturday December 9, 2023

Three Power Conferences Align

  • Three college conferences, the Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC, are shifting the balance of power within the NCAA by forming an alliance.
  • The group will coordinate on scheduling and other efforts.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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The Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC made it official on Tuesday: The three college conferences are forming an alliance.

The Power 5 conferences said they would “remain competitors in every sense” but will coordinate on a host of issues:

  • Future structure of the NCAA
  • Federal legislative efforts
  • Postseason championships and future formats
  • Gender equity, social justice, and the mental and physical health of its athletes

The group plans for inter-conference games in football and basketball, including annual events featuring marquee matchups. It also wants “Olympic sports programs to compete more frequently and forge additional attractive and meaningful rivalries.”

The conferences said that the “scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations.”

The alliance could be a controlling force in next month’s meeting between those three conferences and the SEC — which will add Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 in 2025 — on expanding the College Football Playoff. The expanded SEC will have 16 teams. The alliance will combine for 41.

The shifting balance of power comes at a time when college athletes are newly allowed to earn money through sponsorships, and the next round of media rights deals looms on the horizon

ESPN holds the rights to the College Football Playoff on a 12-year, $5.6 billion deal that runs to 2025.

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