The future of WVU athletics has gotten even more uncertain, if that is even possible.
Following Texas and Oklahoma’s agreement to move to the SEC, it now appears several of the other Power 5 conferences are looking to combat the transition.
According to multiple reports, the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 are close to coming to a deal that would form an alliance between the three.
Of course, there is one notable conference not mentioned there, the Big 12. After losing its two biggest powers on the field and financially, it seems the conference is in trouble going forward.
Immediately following the news of the SEC adding Texas and OU, it was noted that the Big 12 was in discussions with the Pac-12 about a possible merger.
Now it looks like that possibility is gone and the Big 12 might have to fend for itself.
Let’s take a deeper look at this alliance and how it may impact WVU’s athletic program across the board.
ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 Alliance
Three Power 5 conferences are set to announce another shift that will change college sports forever.
The alliance involving the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 will now combine three of the most storied conferences.
Something similar was probably going to be in the works anyway in the near future. However, the SEC sped things along with its poaching of OU and Texas.
Feeling forced to do something or get left behind, the three look poised to join forces. This will begin their new chapter of collegiate alignment.
Even though nothing is in place just yet, reporting from The Athletic states that the partnership could go public as soon as next week.
Part of the reasoning behind this configuration is these three conferences tend to see eye to eye on more than just money.
According to ESPN, one of the athletic directors at a school involved said:
“This is about seeing if there’s a philosophical alignment. At this point, there’s no financial component.”
Outside of just conference rearrangement, the college landscape is changing very quickly now that players can receive compensation for their name, image and likeness (NIL).
Another AD discussed having some stability in the midst of a lot of uncertainty. They said:
“[With] all this banter and talk about the new NCAA structure and governance, having 41 institutions that have similar values would be really important.”
Two of the main aspects that come into play are these colleges’ emphasis on academics and a wide range of sports.
The Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC all feature over 22 sports per campus on average, compared to those in the SEC, which have fewer than 20.
Despite the fact that nothing is set in stone just yet, this new alliance looks mostly like a done deal.
Alliance’s Impact On Big 12 And WVU
Although this latest transition includes multiple parts, there is no doubt that being relevant in the world of college football is one of them.
With Texas and OU going to the SEC by 2025 at the latest, something needed to happen for the remainder of the schools.
By combining efforts, this alliance can actually compete with the likes of the SEC, to some extent.
The SEC was already the biggest powerhouse in college football. The sport generates more revenue than all others in college by a landslide. Taking two of the most recognizable brands from the Big 12 seemed like the start of a monopoly of sorts.
One of the potential alliance’s athletic directors said, “We can’t have college football all run out of the Southeast part of the country.”
Having the ability to contend for the College Football Playoff is more important than ever, considering how the sport looks at the moment.
The playoff and its expansion is another hurdle that’s out there. It’s also part of the reason the Big 12 might be on the outside looking in.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was previously cooperating with the SEC and others on growing the CFP to 12 teams. This is now working against him, as the conferences in the alliance did not have a say in that conversation.
It’s unclear what this will mean for WVU and the rest of the Big 12. As mentioned before, it’s helpful for the Mountaineers that they’re fairly successful at both football and basketball.
This could perhaps get WVU a ticket to a better conference, as opposed to colleges like TCU and Iowa State.
The 2021 college football season gets underway in just a few weeks, and this could be the last time West Virginia sportsbooks show conference futures the way they are now.
This story should continue to unfold and will become clearer in the weeks ahead.