During a joint press conference on Tuesday afternoon featuring commissioners Jim Phillips, Kevin Warren and George Kliavkoff, the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 formally announced an alliance between the conferences that focuses on a shared vision for the future of college football.
"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 said in a statement. "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."
The alliance – which was unanimously supported by the presidents, chancellors and athletic directors at all 41 ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 institutions – means the three leagues could vote together on important matters, such as delaying the implementation of an expanded College Football Playoff until after its television rights deal with ESPN expires in 2026.
The alliance also includes an inter-conference scheduling component for football and men’s and women’s basketball that will be implemented as soon as practically possible while also honoring current contractual obligations. A working group comprised of athletic directors set the criteria for the scheduling component of the alliance.
From the press release:
"The future scheduling component will benefit student-athletes and fans by offering new and memorable experiences that will extend coast-to-coast, across all time zones. The competition will bring a new level of excitement to the fans of the 41 schools while also allowing teams and conferences to have flexibility to continue to play opponents from other conferences, independents and various teams from other subdivisions."
The announcement is a response to the SEC’s recent addition of Oklahoma and Texas and comes about a week and a half after it was first reported that the three conference were having high-level discussions about an alliance.
While they remain competitors on the field, the conferences are now committed to working together amid the ever-changing landscape of college athletics. That includes supporting the mental and physical health, safety and wellness of student-athletes; addressing diversity, equity and inclusion in sports; and collaborating on the future structure of the NCAA and postseason championships.
“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 Conferences” Warren said. “Today, through this alliance, we furthered our commitment to our student-athletes by prioritizing our academics and athletics value systems. We are creating opportunities for student-athletes to have elite competition and are taking the necessary steps to shape and stabilize the future of college athletics.”
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