The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 announced their alliance on Tuesday after news of the three Power Five NCAA conferences joining forces in some capacity was reported last week.
The alliance “will bring 41 world-class institutions together on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling,” the three conferences said in a joint press release.
One key factor of the announcement was its lack of formality—no official contracts have been signed by any of the parties.
“It’s about trust,” Phillips said. “It’s about the fact that we’ve looked each other in the eye, we’ve made an agreement, and we’re very confident about executing on all that has been described today.”
“There’s no signed contract,” Kliavkoff said. “There’s an agreement among three gentlemen and a commitment from 41 presidents and chancellors and 41 athletic directors to do what we say we’re going to do.”
ACC commissioner Jim Phillips just said “it’s about trust” in reference to the ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 alignment.
No relationship in college athletics based solely on trust has gone badly. Ever!
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) August 24, 2021
Supported unanimously by the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors of the 41 institutions within the three conferences, the alliance will prioritize supporting student-athlete well-being and academic and athletic opportunities.
“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 Conferences” Warren said.
“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 ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 will “remain competitors in every sense,” but are also committed to collaborating and providing leadership on various opportunities and challenges, including social justice, gender equity and the future structure of the NCAA.
“We believe that collaborating together we are stronger in our commitment to addressing the broad issues and opportunities facing college athletics,” added Kliavkoff.
Another component of the alliance will be creating inter-conference games in football and men’s and women’s basketball, with scheduling to begin “as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations.”
From a swimming & diving perspective, the three conferences say they will “explore opportunities for the vast and exceptional Olympic Sports programs to compete more frequently and forge additional attractive and meaningful rivalries.”
This could mean seeing more dual or tri-meet matchups between schools like Indiana and NC State, Michigan and Cal, or Stanford and Virginia, for example (though travel is always an issue).
The alliance comes weeks after the SEC extended invitations that were accepted by Big 12 powerhouse schools Texas and Oklahoma. The Longhorns and Sooners will join the SEC for the 2025-26 collegiate season.