Another college football domino fell Tuesday, as the long rumored alliance between the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 was formally announced. This will obviously have an impact on athletics at the University of Iowa and top officials from the school are responding.
University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson was more focused on the off-the-field benefits of this alliance.
“I am particularly excited that this new alliance will strengthen the academic connections across these 41 leading research universities,” Wilson said in a statement. “Connecting these institutions athletically will create additional corridors for students, alumni, fans, and supporters to find their way into exceptional universities like the University of Iowa.”
The more interesting comments came from Henry B. & Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair Gary Barta, about the scheduling aspect of this alliance, which is likely to be one of the biggest changes that comes from it.
Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said one of the main motivations was the “exciting potential of a football and men’s and women’s basketball scheduling partnership.”
In terms of Iowa and the Big Ten, the result would be a non-conference schedule that would be almost exclusively be made up of ACC and Pac-12 teams. While that could result in some matchups with more national television appeal, there is one major question for the Hawkeyes: What about the Cy-Hawk?
Since Iowa State is a Big 12 team, that could be in jeopardy. The good news is that the series is on the books through 2025 and all three conferences did say they will honor all existing scheduling contracts. So it won’t be going away any time soon. After that, it’s unclear.
Though he didn’t mention the Cy-Hawk specifically, Barta acknowledged this alliance does present some scheduling obstacles.
“College athletics is going through transformative times,’ Barta said in a statement emailed to Hawkeye Headquarters. “I’m excited about all the possibilities this alliance presents and what it might mean for Hawkeye student-athletes, coaches, fans, and for our university. Two significant themes have emerged from the conversations in which I’ve participated. The first is making sure the focus remains on improving and enhancing the student-athlete experience, and the second is the complexity and challenges associated with scheduling. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on both.”
Again, though nothing is mentioned specifically, the press release from the Big Ten does make mention of games outside the alliance: “The football scheduling alliance will feature additional attractive matchups across the three conferences while continuing to honor historic rivalries and the best traditions of college football.”
There’s plenty of excitement surrounding this alliance, but also a lot still unknown about what the side effects of this agreement are actually going to be. That’s expected when things change as fast as they have in college football over the last couple months.
It seems the University of Iowa will be ready to deal with whatever those challenges end up being.