The Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 held a joint press conference on Tuesday to formally announce an alliance between the conferences that was called a “collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling.”
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour is part of a working group of directors from across the conferences that will help to shape the future of the alliance in years to come.
What does that mean?
Well, apparently nothing. Commissioners from each conference were sure to let it be known that no binding contracts were signed between the three conferences, making all of this pomp and circumstance relatively meaningless when the rubber hits the road.
While the alliance is meant to take place in all sports that the conferences sponsor, the issue at hand here is specifically football, and particularly a response to Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC.
With regards to future schedules, the conferences had this to say:
“The scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations,” a press release read. “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. All three leagues and their respective institutions understand that scheduling decisions will be an evolutionary process given current scheduling commitments.”
The Big Ten and Pac-12 had initially planned on a similar nonconference schedule partnership in 2012, but that was undone as it was discovered that schools couldn’t begin to adjust their already scheduled nonconference games for at least five years. This issue has only become exacerbated in recent years by programs scheduling further and further out, with Ohio State recently announcing a home and home series with Alabama that will take place in 2027 and 2028.
Ultimately, Tuesday’s announcement was just a bunch of word salad. The conferences had to react to the SEC in part as a power play, but the structure of the announcement lacked much foresight or planning. We’ll continue to monitor the situation as conference re-alignment moves forward and see how exactly it may affect Penn State in the years to come.