As much as we here at CFT would like the topic of expansion and conference realignment to be over and done with, we understand that’s an unrealistic request.
However, the Big 12 is considering an alternative to expansion that should still make for interesting offseason conversation. In an interview with the Austin-American Statesman, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said his league is looking into an alliance with the ACC and two other unspecified conferences. The focus of the potential partnership — Bowlsby added that “nothing is imminent” — would be on scheduling, marketing and perhaps television. It could also span a variety of sports, not just football and basketball.
“We’ve had conversations with three other leagues,” Bowlsby told the Statesman. “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.
“You can begin to get some advantages without taking on any of the disadvantages (of expansion). It’s one option that allows benefits. It’s kind of like friends with benefits.”
Before moving on, we’re going to let that last line sink in.
Anyway, Big 12 athletic directors are set to meet early next week in Grapevine, Tx., where the idea will likely be discussed. It’s an interesting proposal, although the reasoning is not necessarily unprecedented. The Big 12 and SEC came together over the past year to form the “Champions Bowl,” which later morphed into the Sugar Bowl. The Big Ten and Pac-12 also ventured into the idea of a scheduling agreement in late 2011, although that was put on hold about six months later.
But both agreements were about conferences taking further control of a quality product and maximizing its appeal, exposure and profitability. While the nitty gritty details of this proposed alliance aren’t known and probably won’t be known for a while — this is assuming the deal gets done — the goal is essentially the same.