The Big Ten announced today that the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles will become conference members effective August 2, 2024, with competition to begin in all sports the 2024-25 academic year. https://t.co/DnwNMJSEe7— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) July 1, 2022
This is big and news that the Big Ten might not be done means the scramble is on at conference offices and athletic departments from coast to coast. Can the ACC look to add other Pac-12 schools while also securing their own members? If the SEC decides to strike, can anyone say No to their offer (despite the ACC grant of rights media deal)? Does Syracuse need to do to avoid getting left behind?
Notre Dame is crucial because if the ACC can convince them to come aboard for football, it will stabilize the league and appeal to other schools for expansion. It’s the one move that likely guarantees the health of the league no matter what else happens. Without the Irish, Jim Phillips will have to work a bit harder. He’ll need to hold onto schools while trying to figure out what schools to chase. Some have said the ACC grant of rights will keep schools from moving but let’s be honest folks if we end up with two mega-conferences, the ACC deal won’t stop anyone from jumping to the Big Ten or SEC.
Forget academics or geography at this point, it’s go big or go away. So if you’re looking to The Alliance first then Oregon is probably the biggest remaining piece from a brand perspective. Stanford would bring their overall athletic excellence and while it might not move the needle for fans, there is value in that to a lot of schools especially if you are trying to keep Virginia and North Carolina happy. And let’s be honest Cuse fans, the idea of a Washington-Syracuse game before Jim Boeheim retires is certainly intriguing.
If you want to look at the Big 12 I think you start with Kansas and West Virginia. If you want to talk television revenue those are the two biggest needle movers left in the Big 12 and keeping Kansas out of the Big 10 is an added bonus when it comes to keeping the ACC at least in the position to be valuable to media partners.
As all of this unfold it’s important to remember that this is about the business of college sports. It has nothing to do with academics or athlete welfare. This coast-to-coast expansion doesn’t have a huge impact on the sports which already charter to games but the Olympic sports will get squeezed unless schools get together and figure out a better plan. Schools could complete their NCAA break and implement new measures like extended seasons as soccer has proposed or creating smaller regional leagues under a larger umbrella.
Either way this summer just got a lot more interesting so stay tuned....