I don’t know why the world picked the 2021 offseason to be the craziest one in college football history, but they did. It is now becoming one of the wildest ever for all college athletics.
After the Texas and Oklahoma move to the SEC, there were tremors across the entire world of college athletics. It seemed to make the NCAA even more irrelevant and seemed like a concentration of talent that has never been seen before. Which it was. What can I say, Texas ruins everything.
Now, the “Rebel Alliance” is striking back (yes, I know the movie title is Empire Strikes Back, shut up). A recent press release from the Pac-12, Big Ten, and the ACC has laid out what this “alliance” looks like. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s just get it from the horse’s mouth:
The three conferences remain competitors in every sense but are committed to collaborating and providing thought leadership on various opportunities and challenges facing college athletics, including:
Student-athlete mental and physical health, safety, wellness and support
Strong academic experience and support
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Future structure of the NCAA
Federal legislative efforts
Postseason championships and future formats
The alliance includes a scheduling component for football and women’s and men’s basketball designed to create new inter-conference games, enhance opportunities for student-athletes, and optimize the college athletics experience for both student-athletes and fans across the country. The scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations.
What does this mean? Well, in short, I think these three leagues are pissed that the SEC took as much power as they did. For now, they are announcing that they will support CFP expansion, most likely, and generally provide a counter-balance to the SEC’s wants. That’s covered in the “Future structure of the NCAA” bullet.
The other bit that I think is important is their response to the NIL situation. What they have said in their press conference is true - it has been a long time since there has been this much instability in college athletics. Having 41 P5 teams on the same page regarding NIL and state legislature, as well as the overall structure of college football, is a good way to provide stability.
OK, all the boring stuff is talked about. How does this affect the Colorado Buffaloes? Well, in the near term, the schedule gets more interesting. In football, that means there are likely 10-11 P5 games on the schedule as soon as possible. I would guess that the Pac-12 drops to 8 conference games to make this fit.
In basketball, the schedule is now exploding with fun games. It’s hard to get basketball teams to come to Boulder; now, premier matchups for the men’s and women’s teams are almost guaranteed. Michigan State coming to CU? Yes, please. Tad Boyle and the boys flying out to Chapel Hill? That’s fun. The strength of schedule is getting bumped up.
Finally, this comes at a great time for the Pac-12. Their TV right deal expires in the next few years. There’s a new negotiator for the Pac-12 in new commissioner George Kliavkoff, who should cut a more shrewd deal. However, if these TV providers know that the PAC-12 has high-profile crossover games guaranteed, they might start to open up their wallets a bit more.
There’s a lot happening all at once, and there is sure to be more information on the horizon.