LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With the arms race between the SEC and the Big Ten at a full tilt, the battle for relevancy - and perhaps survival - amongst the remaining Power Five conferences is now underway.
According to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd, the ACC and Pac-12 have discussed forming what has been described as a "loose partnership" to combat the recent conference realignment moves made by the SEC and Big Ten over the last 12 months. The concept is being viewed as a way for ESPN, who owns the media rights to both the ACC and Pac-12, to "increase value of their current media rights contracts."
This "loose partnership" was believed to have been proposed by the ACC, according to Dodd, and it could include the two conferences playing a "championship game" in Las Vegas.
This is not the first handshake style agreement the two conferences have been a part of. After the SEC raided the Big 12 of Texas and Oklahoma, the ACC, Big 10 and Pac-12 formed "The Alliance" as a way to try and keep pace with the SEC's efforts to become a super-conference.
However, this was merely a de facto "alliance," as the three conferences never signed any legal paperwork that would force them to align with one another and prevent schools from being poached by another alliance member. This eventually blew up in the Pac-12's face when the Big Ten raided them of USC and UCLA last week.
"Well, it probably ceases to exist now," a Big Ten source told Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger regarding The Alliance following USC and UCLA's move to the Big Ten.
Now, it's a fight to becomes the third super-conference behind the SEC and Big Ten, and even the Big 12 is getting involved. They added Cincinnati, UCF, Houston and BYU last summer after losing Texas and Oklahoma, and are now in "deep discussions" to add up to six Pac-12 members following USC and UCLA's move, according to Dodd.
Along with talks of a "loose partnership" with the ACC, the Pac-12 is also floating the idea of a possible merger with the Big-12, according to Dodd. In the meantime, on Tuesday, the Pac-12's Board of Directors authorized the conference to immediately begin negotiations for their next media rights agreements.
(Photo via Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports)
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