SBD/January 28, 2013/Colleges

Big 12's Bowlsby Says League Is Exploring Alliances With ACC, Two Other Leagues

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A Big 12-ACC alliance could help with non-conference scheduling and bowl tie-ins
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby on Friday said that the league is "actively exploring a possible alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and two other unspecified leagues for the purposes of scheduling, marketing and possibly even television partnerships," according to Kirk Bohls of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Bowlsby added that the alliance "might prevent further expansion." He said, "We’ve had conversations with three other leagues. 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 is "presumed to be one of them because that 12-team league faces significant geographical obstacles to expansion." The Pac-12 and Big Ten announced the framework for "a similar alliance more than a year ago, but the arrangement didn’t come to fruition." Bowlsby said that the possibilities for alliances and expansion "would be discussed during a two-day gathering" of the Big 12 ADs that begins today in Grapevine, Texas. But he said, "Certainly nothing is imminent." Bohls noted a partnership between the Big 12 and other leagues "would include football and basketball, but it could expand to other sports" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 1/26). In Orlando, Matt Murschel noted an alliance would provide the Big 12 and its members "better options for future scheduling especially when you consider that under the new four-team playoff system starting in 2014 strength of schedule will be a major factor in determining qualified teams." The deal also would "help the league when it comes to its bowl tie-ins." The Big 12 can "avoid being locked into less attractive match-ups in the postseason" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 1/26).

MORE LEGENDS & LEADERS? In Columbus, Bill Rabinowitz wrote, "It doesn't appear that the Big Ten is necessarily content to stay at 14 members." Ohio State Univ. President E. Gordon Gee said "there has been ongoing discussion" about expansion. Gee "believes there is movement towards three or four super conferences that are made up of 16-20 teams." He said of potential expansion, "There are opportunities to move further south in the (E)ast and possibly a couple of Midwest universities." Gee did not specify any potential targets, but he said they will make sure any new school has "like-minded academic integrity" (DISPATCH.com, 1/25).
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