Iconic Conferences Seek to Broaden National Scope while Enhancing
Experiences for Student-Athletes, Fans and Alumni
Park Ridge, Ill., and Walnut Creek, Calif. - With a history of Rose Bowl competition dating back more than a century, the Big Ten Conference and Pac-12 Conference announced today a collaborative effort to enhance long-term scheduling commitments between the two conferences across all sports amongst the 24 institutions.
The new Big Ten-Pac-12 collaboration will feature more games between the two conferences in an effort to enhance the experiences for all student-athletes, fans and alumni while broadening the national scope of both conferences. Details of the new effort will continue to unfold as administrators and conference staff members meet in the coming year.
"As other conferences continue to grow through expansion, we believe there is great merit in deepening the historic relationship between the Big Ten and Pac-12," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "We believe that both conferences can preserve that sense of collegiality and still grow nationally by leveraging our commonalities in a way that benefits student-athletes, fans and alumni. This collaboration can and will touch many institutional undertakings, and will complement our academic and athletic missions."
"Through numerous conversations over the past several months with stakeholders from the Big Ten and Pac-12, we decided there would be great value in building upon the history and collegiality that exists between our member institutions, by initially committing to an increased frequency of play between our schools in all sports," said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.
In football, the objective is to create an annual 12 inter-conference game schedule between the two conferences by the 2017 season. The plan calls for each school to play an opponent from the other conference every year with some flexibility built into the process to respect existing post-2017 FBS non-conference match-ups. Additionally, more inter-conference games are expected to appear sooner based on schedule openings. Many sports, including men's and women's basketball, could see an increased level of inter-conference competition in the near term, possibly as early as the 2012-13 academic year. Over the coming months there will be a series of detailed scheduling planning meetings among administrators of both conferences to work out exact details.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 share culture, tradition, values and a rich history of intercollegiate competition, dating back to the inaugural Rose Bowl Game in 1902. The two conferences have met in Pasadena on 62 occasions, including 55 consecutive meetings from 1947-2001. Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 have strong commitments to diversity, gender equity and the sponsorship of broad-based programs, with over 17,000 student-athletes competing on more than 550 teams between the two conferences.
In addition, the Big Ten created the first national conference-owned television network, the Big Ten Network (BTN), which was launched in 2007 and is now in its fifth year of operation. The Pac-12 will be launching its own television network in August 2012. Both networks will be able to provide national coverage to a number of the inter-conference competitions.