- Aug 5, 2009
5 days ago...
The Direction of College Athletics Hangs in the Balance
Where has realignment taken us, and where could it be heading in the future? Our roundtable tackles six pressing issues.
Our best guess at what will be the next big move?While realignment seems to be on pause at the moment, it is unlikely to stay that way. Does it mean the Big Ten will add two more teams tomorrow, or the Big 12 will poach half the Pac-12 by the end of next week? No, but the next three to five years are certain to bring more movement within the Power 5.
The Pac-12’s two remaining biggest brands, Washington or Oregon, are unlikely to sign any kind of long-term contract to remain in the league. Three years? Maybe. Six years? No way. If negotiations over the Pac-12’s new TV deal don’t go as planned, maybe we see the Ducks and Huskies move, especially if (1) the Big Ten drops an invite or (2) the Big 12’s TV negotiations in two years produce a more glamorous revenue figure.
Either way, the Big Ten seems willing to eventually expand again, and that means the SEC could respond with another expansion of its own, potentially reciprocating the interest from a bevy of ACC teams that could challenge the grant of rights in exchange for a spot in one of the Big 2. Buckle up. By 2028, the sport could be a 40-team, two-conference structure that perhaps operates as a semiprofessional entity. —R.D.