ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 form coalition to counter SEC might

Looking for a way to curb the growing power of the Southeastern Conference, three of the wealthiest college sports leagues – the Atlanti...


Looking for a way to curb the growing power of the Southeastern Conference, three of the wealthiest college sports leagues – the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences – said on Tuesday they had formed a coalition to get through a turbulent era.

Beyond a “programming alliance” which could eventually produce more famous clashes in basketball and football, the three conferences could as early as next month upset a proposal aimed at triple the size of college football playoffs to 12 teams. Conferences could also prove to be a crucial force as the NCAA, struggling with chronic issues, contemplates a reorganization.

But the three conferences, which include 41 universities in 25 states, stopped far from a formal merger. Instead, the union had the attributes of a quickly assembled partnership, filling most of the blanks later, with the conferences promising “a collaborative approach to the future evolution of varsity athletics and programming.”

“There is no signed contract,” said Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff. “There is an agreement between three gentlemen and there is a commitment from 41 presidents and chancellors and 41 athletic directors to do what we say we are going to do.”

Still, said Kevin Warren, Big Ten Commissioner, “I hope this will bring much needed stability to varsity athletics.”

“This will allow people to understand where everyone stands, as some of the events of the past two months have kind of shaken the foundations of beliefs in varsity athletics,” he said.

Jim Phillips, the ACC commissioner, also said leaders of the three conferences felt a “responsibility to stabilize a volatile environment”.

The debut of the group, which said its member conferences “remain competitors in every way,” came less than a month after the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas said they leave the Big 12 Conference for the SEC by July 1, 2025. The decision left the SEC on the verge of expanding to 16 schools and, more importantly for the varsity sports economy, in a position to order a larger television deal than the $ 3 billion over 10 years with ESPN he announced last year.

And while the expansion of the SEC was a foreseeable threat to the Big 12, it also put substantial pressure on the other leagues that make up the so-called Power 5 Conferences which, under the obscure and unwritten standards of the varsity athletics, have a disproportionate influence.

The new coalition between three of the Power 5 leagues amounts to a tentative, albeit largely vague, response with no clear methods to enforce its principles other than private pressure and public shame.

In a joint interview with his counterparts after Tuesday’s announcement, Warren insisted that the absence of a signed agreement was not an effort to avoid breaking antitrust laws that have been traps for the company. college sports industry.

“We are competitors on the ground; we didn’t have any deal to vote en bloc or move together, ”said Warren. “All we’ve said is we want to come together and create an environment to do what’s right for the benefit of our student-athletes and our respective conferences.

Present at branded schools like ACC’s Clemson, Ohio State of the Big Ten, and Oregon of the Pac-12, the group is looking to get into more detailed strategies on issues such as football and basketball programming. ball, which in turn could affect the television rights agreements that are the financial cornerstone of varsity athletics. The leagues said new planning approaches would begin “as soon as possible while honoring current contractual obligations.”

One of the group’s first tests will take place in late September, when football playoff power brokers are expected to consider a plan to expand the size of the tournament. Some executives are suspicious of the proposal, which the executives of the Big 12, the SEC, the Mountain West Conference and Notre Dame have developed. (Notre Dame is a member of the ACC in all sports except football.)

None of the coalition’s three commissioners made any commitment to back the existing proposal on Tuesday – a powerful signal since the playoff system relies on unanimity to make decisions on issues such as expansion.

While it does not have a veto power within the NCAA, which has little control over major college football, the group could also play an important role in a possible rewrite of the association’s constitution. here mid-January. The association, which has seen its authority weakened by a Supreme Court case he lost unanimously in June, examines whether and how it could embrace the kind of ‘transformational change’ that its president, Marc Emmert, urged in recent weeks.

Despite the weakness of the NCAA, the coalition can use the power it wields very clearly: Phillips said he didn’t expect the three conferences to look like a formal voting bloc during deliberations on the future of the association.

The Commissioners, however, left open the possibility of their ranks increasing. Kliavkoff said the Pac-12 will announce this week whether it will pursue membership expansion. Warren did not commit to a timeline for a Big Ten decision, but said he felt the new coalition already offered the league “a lot of benefits that you normally don’t get” until the rosters. conference members change.

Indeed, Phillips suggested that the coalition could go a long way to meet some of the CCA’s ambitions.

“This allows for collaboration without any adjustments or membership changes,” he said.

The Big 12, Warren reported, was not invited to join the coalition due to its turmoil.

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Newsrust - US Top News: ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 form coalition to counter SEC might
ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 form coalition to counter SEC might
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