Reports: Big Ten, Pac-12 agree on unique scheduling alliance
Perhaps Rich Rodriguez will get his matchup with the Michigan football program after all.
Multiple reports Wednesday detailed a new partnership agreement between the Big Ten Conference and the Pac-12 Conference aimed at expanding inter-league scheduling across all sports, including football.
The partnership will require all football member institutions from the Big Ten and Pac-12 to schedule one game per season with a school from the other conference, with both leagues hoping to gain full participation by 2017.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott were slated to hold a joint teleconference at 4:30 p.m. to further discuss the agreement.
After recently being hired at Arizona, Rodriguez — who was fired after three seasons at Michigan prior to the 2011 season — reportedly expressed interest in scheduling a non-conference game between Arizona and Michigan at some point down the road.
He later said that statement was blown out of proportion, but under this new Big Ten-Pac-12 agreement, it could technically become a reality.
In a USA Today report, Delany described the collaboration between the two leagues as an answer to nationwide expansion.
"It's sort of in lieu of what some other people are doing (with expansion)," Delany told the paper. "Our idea is you can't stand still. You have to build in an environment where people are competing for attention, where they're competing to have the best competitive assets and to present themselves in the best way. I think both of us believe this is the most constructive way for us to do that."
Reports say the agreement could feature an annual football season kickoff event, held at venues like the Rose Bowl or Chicago's Soldier Field.
Basketball schedules could feature inter-league matchups at NBA arenas in Big Ten and Pac-12 markets, with games potentially beginning as early as 2012-13. "We're going to continue to play other conferences in bowls," Delany told USA Today. "We're going to continue to play challenges against other leagues. And we're going to continue to be involved in the NCAA and all of its championships. We're just trying to deepen our collegial relationship, build on what we've had."