Share This Page

Big 12 hints at possible alliance with ACC, others

| Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, 6:24 p.m.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said his league has no immediate plans for expansion, but a possible alliance with the ACC and two other unidentified conferences was discussed Monday when athletic directors met in Grapevine, Texas. The proposed alliance could include scheduling, marketing and television partnerships.

“It's a process of discovery that would provide some of the benefits of larger membership without actually adding members,” Bowlsby told the Austin (Texas) American Statesman.

An ACC spokesman declined comment, with discussions on the proposal only in the preliminary stage. ACC athletic directors will meet beginning Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Pac-12 and Big Ten had announced the framework for a similar alliance more than a year ago, but the arrangement never materialized.

Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann said talk of alliances eventually could change how conferences view each other and clear a path toward four superconferences.

“It could be a precursor of what's to come,” McCann said. “We will see conferences aligning themselves more and more and viewing themselves less as rivals and more as partners in promoting college sports. It could be the first of several steps to get to four superconferences.

“It shows that big-time college sports is increasingly geared toward business pursuits.”

Meanwhile, one topic at the Big 12 meetings Monday concerned the pros and cons of expansion from a 10-school configuration to one that will allow a conference championship game.

But there doesn't appear to be much internal enthusiasm for expansion, with each Big 12 school receiving a $26.2 million share of outside income, the most among major conferences, according to Forbes Magazine.

“We don't have any plans to expand, but on the other hand, we don't want to be caught off-guard, either,” Bowlsby told Big12Sports.com. “If we make moves in the future or if we decide not to make moves in the future, we are doing it based on solid evidence.

“I've said publicly before that I think a period of no movement would be good for everybody involved, and I continue to believe that that's the case. I think the losers in this are some of the traditional rivalries and some of the associations that have been in place for a long time. This is a topic about which we ought to move slowly.”

Most Big 12 basketball coaches favor a 10-team league, with double round-robin scheduling. But West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said he understands that football often gets what it wants, especially in regards to a championship game.

“Well, if football doesn't like (10 teams), we're probably going to expand,'' he said.

John Harris contributed to this story. Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.