What? A Big 12 ACC alliance in the works? Just as we all didn’t expect.

There’s a reason I stay away from rampant speculation about conference realignment. Do you want to know that reason? It’s because 99.5% of the rumors you hear aren’t close to actual reality.

Check out any random school message board or follow twitter for a couple of days and you’ll see rumors so wide ranging there are too many to list them all, but did anyone see talk of a Big 12 ACC alliance coming? If  you did I’d like see it. Friday this story came out of the Statesman.com.

“We’ve had conversations with three other leagues,” Bowlsby told the American-Statesman on Friday afternoon. “The ACC is one of them. It’s a process of discovery that would provide some of the benefits of larger membership without actually adding members.”

Bowlsby declined to name the other two leagues, but the Pac-12 Conference is presumed to be one of them because that 12-team league faces significant geographical obstacles to expansion. 

Wow… The two conferences most people pitted against each other got the jump on everyone. Good for them on that, but should we really be all that shocked by this announcement?

Maybe but Maybe not…

I know some of you out there still think there’s some sinister posturing being done the Big 12 or ACC or both, but look at this quote from Clemson’s AD Dan Radakovich made just 6 days before at the thestate.com in piece they did on Radakovich.

“We need to look and understand what opportunities exist there for us, either singularly or in partnership with other leagues,” he said. “I think we are at a point right now where the ideas of collaboration need to be explored.”

Sounds like to me the Clemson AD alluded to what the Big 12 commissioner just confirmed, there are some level of discussions going on.

What could be the reasoning for all this? If you truly believe the Big 10 and SEC were preparing for a schools arms race, then none of the other conference Big 5 conferences were safe over the next 20 years.

Don’t think so?

Pac 12 – Where are they going to expand to? They can only go in one direction -> East. Who is east? The Big 12… There are only a limited number of viable options of markets and schools should the Big 10 and SEC go to 16-20 teams that the Pac 12 would have in order to keep up with the other two conferences.

ACC/Big 12 – I’m not splitting these two conferences because to the Big 10 and SEC they are just more potential markets. Don’t think of it as programs, think of it as potential viewers. Remember when I said the Big 10 may have changed the model of expansion when they picked up athletically mediocre schools like Rutgers and Maryland for new markets? That’s what I mean… think the GOR saves the Big 12? It’s only good for 13 short years and that’s if you think it can’t be negotiated down.

We will see if anything develops from this. We’ve heard of other collaborations falling through, namely the Big 10/Pac 12 scheduling alliance last year, but apparently enough is going on that ADs and commissioners are talking about it.

Just a side note, if anyone should be concerned it should be the NCAA. Given their fiasco this week in the Miami investigation , they continue to lose credibility. Now if the conferences are forming alliances what is the NCAA needed for? It could be one step closer the 60-70 schools breaking away from the NCAA.


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