The Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Pac-12 announced an alliance on Tuesday to focus on the future of college athletics.
The three conferences will collaborate to address the future structure of the NCAA, social justice, gender equality, student-athlete mental and physical health and more.
“[The alliance] 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 group said in a release on Tuesday. “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.”
The alliance was unanimously supported by the presidents, chancellors and athletic directors at all 41 schools across the three conferences, including two in Pennsylvania. Penn State is a member of the Big Ten, while University of Pittsburgh is a member of the ACC.
“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 Conferences,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin 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.”
This announcement comes after rumors circulated of the alliance since early August and off the heels of Texas and Oklahoma’s departure from the Big 12 in favor of the SEC (Southeastern Conference) in July.
“The historic alliance announced today between the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten is grounded in a commitment to our student-athletes,” Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said. “We believe that collaborating together we are stronger in our commitment to addressing the broad issues and opportunities facing college athletics.”
College analysts believe this alliance is to stay the growing influence of the SEC in college athletics. In theory, this group would collaborate on issues and form a voting block on issues facing college athletics.
One of the most intriguing parts of the announcement is the possibility for inter-conference scheduling opportunities for schools in the football and basketball.
“The scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations,” according to the joint statement. “A working group comprised of athletic directors representing the three conferences will oversee the scheduling component of the alliance, including determining the criteria upon which scheduling decisions will be made.”
The group plans to also address postseason championships and future formats, including a possible expanded College Football Playoff.
“Our everyday commitment to more than 27,000 athletes in all three conferences will only be enhanced through this alliance,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips.
This announcement also comes as schools begin to tackle the Name, Image, Likeness policies that would allow student-athletes to profit off their brands while still competing in an NCAA structure.