The commissioners of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC made it official Tuesday, announcing an alliance between the three leagues. But they offered little else in the way of concrete plans for the future.
Kevin Warren, George Kliavkoff and Jim Phillips talked extensively about trust, stability and protecting the future of college athletics, but Tuesday’s announcement didn’t offer a clear path forward on scheduling, realignment or College Football Playoff expansion.
Instead the group announced the alliance as a handshake agreement with unanimous support from its membership, born from a mutual appreciation for academics, sponsoring a broad variety of Olympic sports, and the general pursuit of social justice, gender equity and diversity and inclusion.
“There’s an air of cooperation,” one AD said afterward. “We don’t know what opportunities might come from it.”
It’s not a coincidence that trust became a key talking point among these three commissioners. The lack of trust that followed Texas and Oklahoma’s decision to join the SEC was the springboard for creating this alliance, and it’s the underlying reason why other leagues are not currently involved.
“Building for the future had to start somewhere,” Warren said. “The [Power 5] was in a state of flux. There was severe turbulence. There are three new commissioners. The NCAA has taken a step back and has said it has to evaluate everything from a constitutional convention. You have CFP expansion that was not composed of any of us, in the group involved with it. You have name, image and likeness, the Alston case, gender equity issues, social justice issues we have to deal with. We will look back 10, 20, even 50 years from now, they will study what happened in 2020 and 2021, from the murder of George Floyd to COVID and the issues we’re talking about right now. Someone had to take the first step, and personally, for me in the Big Ten, I did not want to sit around and let those decisions be made by others.”