ACC officially forms alliance with Big Ten, Pac-12

The ACC announced the formation of an alliance with the Big Ten and Pac-12 on Tuesday that will help shape college athletics and impact future scheduling in various sports.

A statement from the ACC said the alliance of 41 colleges was unanimously supported by presidents, chancellors and athletics directors. The alliance serves to counter the SEC’s influence, especially once it expands to 16 schools with the addition of Texas and Oklahoma.

“We’re better together than we are separate,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said.

The leagues feel they will have a good working relationship because of the similar goals among the schools.

“We are at the very beginning of the relationship,” FSU athletics director David Coburn told the Osceola’s Jerry Kutz on Tuesday afternoon. “We share a lot of the same vision for the student-athletes. We share a lot of common values. There is just a sense we have a great deal in common with them.”

One area of growth as a byproduct of the alliance is scheduling in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. There’s no timetable to begin the scheduling and the leagues said current contractual obligations will be kept while also preserving current rivalries. It’s possible the alliance could also include Olympic sports programs, too.

“The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 recognize the unique environment and challenges currently facing intercollegiate athletics, and we are proud and confident in this timely and necessary alliance that brings together like-minded institutions and conferences focused on the overall educational missions of our preeminent institutions,” Phillips said. “The alliance will ensure that the educational outcomes and experiences for student-athletes participating at the highest level of collegiate athletics will remain the driving factor in all decisions moving forward.”

No contract between the leagues has been signed, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said. In a follow-up question, Phillips said, “It’s about trust.”

Beyond scheduling, it’s likely the alliance will use its votes on various national committees to influence decision-making within college athletics.

How will this impact FSU football?

While dreams of football matchups with the likes of Southern Cal and Michigan may be the first thought for FSU fans, those games are likely a few years off as schedules are locked in for the near future. FSU will play at least 10 teams from Power 5 conferences through 2030. That includes dates with LSU (2022, ’23), at Notre Dame (2024), Alabama (2025, ’26) and Georgia (’27 and ’28) as well as the rivalry game with Florida.

This would also appear to lock the ACC into an eight-game conference schedule for the foreseeable future. There has been frequent discussion about expanding to a nine-game league schedule, which would give more inventory to TV partners (as well as the ACC Network). The Big Ten and Pac-12 have nine-game league schedules and could drop to eight to find scheduling partners within the alliance.

While it’s possible FSU could buy out games against North Alabama in 2023 and Charleston Southern in 2024, FSU’s next available non-conference window is in 2025.

How will this impact FSU basketball?

The ACC and Big Ten have had a long-running challenge during the regular season, with the FSU men playing host to Indiana in December 2020. This season, the FSU men will play at Purdue on Nov. 30 and the women play at Illinois on Dec. 2.

Basketball schedules are much more flexible by comparison to football and it’s conceivable that ACC teams could play a game against a Big Ten opponent as well as a game against a Pac-12 opponent as early as November or December 2022.