Scheduling disagreements may not doom The Alliance, but they do ask a question of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Cornerback Mykael Wright #2 of the Oregon Ducks gets in the face of wide receiver Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first quarter at Ohio Stadium on September 11, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gaelen Morse/Getty Images)
By Nicole Auerbach Feb 16, 2022 58
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith purposefully laid out the current tension within the Big Ten while commenting on future nonconference scheduling agreements during a Wednesday news conference. The crux of the issue is the push and pull between the best move for the league in a vacuum and the benefits of tethering the conference to others — particularly the ACC and the Pac-12, the leagues it partnered with to form a coalition of mutual interest called The Alliance last August.

“We talk more about what do we need to do with the Big Ten, to keep the Big Ten as valuable as it is in our footprint, for our fans, for our athletes, and our television partners. It’s rare that we compare ourselves to even the ACC or the Pac-12,” Smith said. “If we were just looking at TV value, we’re more valuable to the ACC or the Pac-12 than they are to us.”

Speaking on the Big Ten’s relationship with the two conferences, Smith said that “the value of The Alliance was just bringing together schools that think alike” and that they feel similarly about legislative issues in college sports. The potential for additional football games between the league’s top programs excited fans, but scheduling concerns were always a secondary aspect of the agreement.

Although the future of The Alliance won’t be decided on the athletic director level, everything Smith said on Wednesday is true, particularly the bit about the Big Ten’s value compared to that of the ACC and Pac-12.