Ever since it was announced that Oklahoma and Texas were leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC fans have been waiting on the other shoe to drop.
Most assumed major realignment was on the horizon, and while that is still likely the end result at some point in the future, for now it appears that the ACC, Big Ten and Pac 12 will join forces to create some kind of alliance.
The leagues are set to formally announce this alliance sometime in the next week or so, according to ESPN senior writer David Hale. But even Hale himself says the “substance of that agreement remains in flux.”
According to the report, initial talks focused on all sports but the most recent ones have been centered around football and men’s and women’s basketball. There could be some unique scheduling opportunities to come out of this thing but the immediate concern is the playoff.
The fact that the SEC had been working on the Texas and Oklahoma deal behind everyone’s back for a year, while at the same time trying to push playoff expansion through, has not sat well with officials in the ACC, Big Ten and Pac 12. Those leagues needed to do something to slow expansion down, hence this alliance.
The current four team playoff is locked in through 2025. Agreeing to expand now and extending the deal with ESPN would not allow the television rights to hit the market. However, the three leagues joining forces and creating voting power could keep that from happening, which would allow other networks to get in on the bidding in 2025.
So really what this all means right now is probably nothing outside of creating an alliance of sorts. Think voting power. That would keep the SEC and ESPN from having their way when it comes to playoff expansion. Anyone hoping it would lead to some kind of new television deal for the ACC, it doesn’t appear that will be the case. The only way to do that really is by adding teams to the league.
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