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College Basketball

Historic Alliance Is Neither

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The SEC is currently in the process of turning itself into the kind of super-conference that could threaten the very existence of the other conferences throughout the country. But if you thought the other Power 5 conferences were just going to sit there and let the SEC steal all of their best teams and suck up even more money and attention than it already does, well, buster, I have some news for you.

Damn. Are you seeing this shit? The Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 have just totally changed the game (and possibly even flipped the script!) by forming an alliance. Read that press release and weep, SEC administrators, because this new triumvirate of power conferences is about to fuck your shit up by “collaborating and providing thought leadership” on what seems to be a very important list of issues. OK, sure, maybe you are reading that press release and thinking, “I don’t know what any of this actually means,” in which case I recommend getting the lowdown from this ESPN report.

Give us the goods, ESPN senior writer Adam Rittenberg:

The gist of the alliance — which a source said is in response to the shifting landscape of college athletics, but not necessarily a direct counter to the SEC on its way to becoming the first 16-team superconference — is an ability to collaborate academically and athletically among some of the country’s highest-regarded research institutions.

The bottom line is that there is no immediate or direct impact today on college football.

OK, but surely there will be some, ah, indirect impact on college football? Let’s keep reading:

Tuesday’s alliance announcement included widespread football scheduling principles among the three leagues, as many game contracts are set for several years out. There is also a desire to see what a potential expanded CFP model looks like before adopting new scheduling strategies.

Teams from the three leagues are expected to start scheduling more games with one another, and individual leagues could make adjustments to their scheduling models. One possibility would be for the Pac-12 to reduce its number of league games from nine to eight, which would free up teams to play opponents from other Power 5 conferences, such as the Big Ten and ACC.

Ah, see, now here is the meat! The conferences are going to collaborate more closely on scheduling games, which sounds like it could help produce some fun matchups and reignite some rivalries. You have to congratulate these conferences for forming an alliance around such a bold, original idea—

But across-the-board scheduling approaches won’t come just yet. The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced a scheduling agreement in December 2011 that was set to begin in 2017. But the agreement ultimately fell apart on the Pac-12 side.

“We cannot repeat history,” a source said.

Tuesday’s announcement included mention of a scheduling alliance in football, women’s basketball and men’s basketball, which will go into effect “as soon as practical” based on existing contracts.

OK, so maybe this collaboration has no set start date, and no material changes, and a previous effort to do the same thing fell apart, but this isn’t just some puny handshake agreement between conference commissioners. This is an alliance, and that surely means that each conference has made legally binding promises to each other. Right?

Ah, well, nevertheless.

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