Big Ten, ACC, PAC-12 announce alliance

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, August 24, 2021

DOWAGIAC — After weeks of speculation, the commissioners of the Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 conference announced an alliance Tuesday afternoon.

The alliance will bring together 41 colleges and universities in the three conferences with the goal being a collaborative approach to scheduling and governing of college athletics. The decision was unanimously supported by athletic directors, presidents and chancellors.

“The Big Ten Conference has always prioritized academic excellence as well as athletic excellence for student-athletes,” said University of Wisconsin Chancellor and Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors Chair Dr. Rebecca Blank. “Today’s announcement reinforces the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness among all members of this alliance and provides additional opportunities for our student-athletes to enhance their collegiate experience.”

One of the goals of the alliance is to focus on the student-athletes’ well-being, academic and athletic opportunities, experiences and diverse educational programming, according to a statement released by the three conferences.

While the three conferences remain competitive, they are joining forces to providing leadership on opportunities and challenges facing the student-athlete, including:

  • Student-athlete mental and physical health, safety, wellness and support
  • Strong academic experience and support
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Social justice
  • Gender equity
  • Future structure of the NCAA
  • Federal legislative efforts
  • Postseason championships and future formats

“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 alliance will also focus on scheduling for football, as well as men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports. It hopes to provide new inter-conference games. A group of athletic directors from all three conferences will be overseeing the scheduling component.

In football, that should mean more attractive non-conference matchups. In basketball, it will mean early and mid-season matchups, as well as annual events that will feature premier matchups between the three conferences.

The scheduling component is meant to enhance the experience for all the athletes involved, along with fans from coast-to-coast.

“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,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “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.”

With the ACC on board, that should mean more matchups between Notre Dame, which plays an ACC schedule with the exception of football, and local Big Ten schools Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue.

Vincent E. Price, Duke University president and chair of the ACC board of directors, is excited for the new opportunities the alliance presents.

“The alliance is first and foremost a statement about the vital connection of academic excellence to college athletics,” he said. “Our members include 41 of the top public and private universities in the world, which will soon have new ways to compete at the very highest levels in sports, and to collaborate in education, research and service to society. Together,s we will be able to use our strong voice and united vision to create the best possible experience for our student-athletes and institutions.”