COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Pac-12 announced an alliance Tuesday that will work together “on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling” with a clear eye on the growing power of the SEC.
Conference officials have been discussing the idea for weeks, but commissioners Kevin Warren of the Big Ten, Jim Phillips of the ACC and George Kliavkoff of the Pac-12 — all relatively new to their positions — acknowledged the plan publicly for the first time.
According to the press release, the alliance was unanimously supported by the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors at all of the schools.
The three conferences say while they remain competitors, they are committed working together on challenges facing college athletics including mental and physical health, diversity, inclusion, social justice and gender equality.
“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 Conferences” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “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.”
The newly formed alliance includes a scheduling component for football and men’s/women’s basketball which will create new inter-conference games that will be overseen by a working group of athletic directors.
The conference said they will also explore opportunities for Olympic sports programs to compete.
The move comes less than a month after the Southeastern Conference invited Texas and Oklahoma to join the league and create a 16-school league by 2025. The move sent shockwaves through college athletics and will leave the Big 12 without its two premier schools in the paydirt sport of football.
The alliance is also being formed as the NCAA begins the process of handing off more responsibility to conferences and schools to run college sports, and with a proposal to expand the College Football Playoff in the pipeline.