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ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 formally announce alliance between conferences

Scheduling is going to be a big part of this new alliance.

ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Miami v Georgia Tech Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

It’s official: the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 have formed an alliance between the three conferences. There are a lot of moving parts in the world of college athletics as Oklahoma and Texas shook things up with their announced move to the SEC in 2025. Although this ACC-Big Ten-Pac-12 alliance had been discussed over the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s (August 24) announcement, the commissioners from each conference joined on a press conference to comment on the decision.

While specific details on what this alliance means are scant at this point, it’s clear that scheduling will be a major point of emphasis. From the press release:

The alliance – which was unanimously supported by the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors at all 41 institutions – will be guided in all cases by a commitment to, and prioritization of, supporting student-athlete well-being, academic and athletic opportunities, experiences and diverse educational programming. The three conferences are grounded in their support of broad-based athletic programs, the collegiate model and opportunities for student-athletes as part of the educational missions of the institutions.

There are already 103 football games scheduled between the conferences — including Notre Dame — and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren stated that they will not interfere with any existing contracted games to schedule new ones.

Jim Phillips, who took over the ACC commissioner role from John Swofford in February of this year, has already had a busy fall dealing with COVID, the passage of name, image, and likeness, and realignment. “The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 recognize the unique environment and challenges currently facing intercollegiate athletics, and we are proud and confident in this timely and necessary alliance that brings together like-minded institutions and conferences focused on the overall educational missions of our preeminent institutions,” Phillips stated. “The alliance will ensure that the educational outcomes and experiences for student-athletes participating at the highest level of collegiate athletics will remain the driving factor in all decisions moving forward.”

As of now, there is no official signed contract, and it doesn’t appear if there will be one going forward. Kliavkoff stated it’s an agreement between “three gentlemen” and the 41 member institutions to follow the agreed alliance. He also commented that the alliance is primarily to protect college athletics, not focused first and foremost on revenue (although in a later response reiterated that finance is important).

When looking at scheduling, here is how the press release explained the alliance:

  • 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.
  • In women’s and men’s basketball, the three conferences will add early and mid-season games as well as annual events that feature premier matchups between the three leagues.
  • The three conferences will also explore opportunities for the vast and exceptional Olympic Sports programs to compete more frequently and forge additional attractive and meaningful rivalries.

There’s no official timeline on anything happening going forward, but it is a major college athletics storyline to keep an eye on.