It’s official — the Big Ten, Pacific-12 and Atlantic Coast conferences announced an alliance that will bring 41 institutions together on a collaborative approach surrounding the future of college athletics.
University presidents, chancellors and athletic directors unanimously supported the alliance. The school leaders will commit to and prioritize student-athlete well-being, academic and athletic opportunities.
“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 Big Ten announced in a statement.
The alliance includes a scheduling component for football and men’s and women’s basketball. It will provide the conferences with new inter-conference games, create new opportunities for student-athletes and enhance college athletics for school administrators, athletic directors, coaches, players and fans.
In academics, the three conferences feature 34 institutions ranked in the Top 100 national universities by US News & World Report. Twenty-seven of the 34 autonomy five members are in the Association of American Universities (AAU). The member schools contribute data and research with $15 billion from federal aid that benefits communities worldwide.
In athletics, over 27,000 student-athletes compete on 863 teams in 31 different sports. The conferences combine 1,019 NCAA Championships and 194 Olympic medals won by current, former, and future student-athletes in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast and Pacific-12 conferences,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “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.”
Pacific-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff agreed with Warren, reiterating that student-athletes are the focal point of the alliance. The member schools pride themselves on committing every resource to academic and athletic success.
“We believe that by collaborating together, we are stronger in our commitment to addressing the broad issues and opportunities facing college athletics,” Kliavkoff said.
One of the more board issues is conference realignment outside of the alliance. After Texas and Oklahoma announced their intentions to join the Southeastern in late July, the coalition prepares the three conferences for the future in a volatile environment of college football and other sports.
To ensure that the three conferences did not feel left behind, Atlantic Coast commissioner Jim Phillips said they agreed to create an alliance using necessity and precaution as their guides.
“The Atlantic Coast, Big Ten and Pacific-12 recognize the unique environment and challenges currently facing intercollegiate athletics,” Phillips said. “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.”
“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.”