The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 held a joint press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 24 to officially announce their joint alliance. Commissioners Jim Phillips, Kevin Warren and George Kliavkoff were all on the call.
The trio of commissioners covered the specifics of the alliance, which included efforts to bring upon collaboration within the three conferences to create a future scheduling component for football and men’s and women’s basketball. The conferences announced that scheduling could include new “inter-conference” games, per the press release from the Big Ten. The scheduling alliance will start “as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations”, according to the release.
Kliavkoff clarified that although a goal of the alliance is to encourage inter-conference competition, that there is no intention to increase the number of games teams play nor is there an intention to stop teams within the alliance from facing opponents in other conferences.
Warren explained that this alliance and the inter-conference games will not interfere with any currently existing contracts.
Regarding men’s and women’s basketball, it was announced that the trio of leagues will add early and mid-season games and annual events that will feature premier matchups between the three conferences. The conferences will also look into new opportunities for the Olympic Sports programs at each school.
“Hopefully this alliance will really stabilize the different issues that we’re facing in college athletics,” Warren said. “It’ll provide opportunities for our student-athletes, again, to not only get a world-class education at one of 41 institutions but also to provide them an opportunity to play just in some epic matchups.”
The press release also mentions how the alliance will combat the challenges that college athletics face. Here is the list that the release provided:
- Student-athlete mental and physical health, safety, wellness and support
- Strong academic experience and support
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- Social justice
- Gender equity
- Future structure of the NCAA
- Federal legislative efforts
- Postseason championships and future formats
The alliance announcement comes a few months after the proposal to expand to a 12-team College Football Playoff and the University of Texas and Oklahoma announced that they will join the SEC in 2025.
“Even one of the things that we learned from COVID last year is that we live in uncertain times, so I wouldn’t say this is a reaction to Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC, but I think, to be totally candid, you have to evaluate what’s going on in the landscape of college athletics,” Warren said.
“...This is a year for seismic shifts that I think it’s really important to make sure that you are aware of all these different things going on and make sure that from our individual conferences that we do all we can to make sure we protect our conferences and build strong relationships to make sure that we protect our student-athletes.”
The commissioners did not sign a contract to solidify the deal. Phillips, Warren and Kliavkoff all expressed that they did not feel one was necessary for this deal to be successful.
“It’s about trust. It’s about we’ve looked each other in the eye, we’ve made an agreement... and we’re very confident about executing on all that has been described today,” Phillips said.