How will the new alliance impact the Hawkeyes?
It almost looked like something out of a Star Wars movie.
There has been the formation of an alliance, or what some might call a rebel alliance with the Big Ten, the Pac 12, and the ACC coming together to fight the evil empire that is the Southeastern Conference.
The opening salute happened recently when the SEC went behind enemy lines and crippled the Big 12 by acquiring their two most important assets, Texas and Oklahoma.
A delay and three more for the SEC, but the newly formed alliance took a stand on Tuesday afternoon in hopes of battling its rival conference.
So what exactly happened on Tuesday when Big Ten’s Kevin Warren, ACC’s Jim Phillips and Pac 12’s George Klivakoff appeared on video conference?
The answer is something, but a little nothing.
Nothing was signed by any of the conferences. No formal agreement has been reached between the three leaders. It was essentially a handshake agreement without binding measures.
What does all of this mean for the Hawkeyes?
The most interesting aspect of today’s announcement for fans was the potential lineup deal. It is fair to say that what was presented today was vague at best in detail. Iowa and all other schools will not change their football contractual obligations.
Iowa is currently fully scheduled for the 2025 season. This includes conference and non-conference games. This includes the Cy-Hawk game, which currently has a contract until 2025.
Rumors suggested this new alliance would include the Big Ten schools playing against ACC and Pac 12 schools every year and eventually reduce the number of conference games from nine to eight. If that were to happen, there is a possibility that the Iowa State game could become a question mark after the 2025 meeting. Again, nothing is firmly decided at this point, so it is only to the speculation.
Also on the schedule side, it was announced that all three conferences will be looking to schedule men’s and women’s basketball games. The Big Ten and the ACC have had their male and female challenges for many years and now we might see early season reunions with the Pac 12 being incorporated into the mix.
By the way, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta will be one of the 11 athletic directors involved and shaping the lineup discussions.
The other two aspects of this that will certainly be discussed. One was a possible extension for one of the three conferences. Pac 12 have indicated that they will announce an expansion decision shortly and it looks like they will likely stand firm. Additionally, Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reports that the Big Ten is unlikely to be looking to grow.
Kevin Warren told Yahoo Sports: “We feel very comfortable in the Big Ten that we are in a good position where we are.”
Finally, there is the TV aspect in all of this. The media rights for the Big Ten and the Pac 12 go on sale in 2023 and 2024. Both would certainly like to have a diverse TV portfolio. The Big Ten now has its own network, Fox and ESPN as media partners. It will be interesting to see if ESPN sticks with the Big Ten. It will also be interesting to see if the Big Ten, which has always been at the forefront of media rights, will seek a non-traditional partner like Amazon or Hulu. If that is to happen, it seems possible in the next round of media rights.
On a related note, the alliance will also seek to open up the college football qualifiers to more media partners. Currently, ESPN has the contract until 2026, but it is possible that it will expand to 12 teams before the deal ends. If there is an expansion, all three conferences would like to see an open bidding process and have multiple partners, like ESPN and Fox sharing the rights.