Conference Realignment Coming To Big Ten, Michigan State AD Confirms
UPDATE: Is the Big Ten expanding? If so, here are some schools that could make sense
Changes are coming to the Big Ten.
Last week, the NCAA officially divested itself from the process of how leagues determine participants in their conference championship games for football. Almost immediately thereafter, the Pac-12 announced its title game representatives will be the teams with the two highest winning percentages in Pac-12 play, shunning the old model that sent the winners of each of the league's two divisions to the conference title game.
On Monday, Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller confirmed the Big Ten has been paying attention and is planning changes of its own.
“There will be,” Haller said, when asked whether realignment and other changes will be coming to the conference. “We’re working through them.”
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Haller was speaking Monday at a Detroit Economic Club function. Last week, Haller and the Big Ten's 13 other athletic directors met for two days in suburban Chicago.
In January, Iowa AD Gary Barta told The Athletic the Big Ten has had conversations about ending its divisional format in football in favor of a model where each team would have three protected opponents they play each season while cycling through the other 10 teams on a regular basis.
The Athletic reports the league is also considering lowering its conference slate from nine games to eight. This would help the Big Ten to better leverage its scheduling opportunities with the ACC and Pac-12, conference partners with whom the league is working to battle the SEC. The partnership, called "The Alliance," was formed last summer after Oklahoma and Texas formally announced they're leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, beginning with the 2025 college football season.
The Big Ten's changes could come as soon as the 2023 season, according to The Athletic.