Report: Conference alliance brewing?

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told the Austin American-Statesman on Friday that the Big 12 is exploring an alliance with the ACC and two other unnamed conferences.

“We’ve had conversations with three other leagues,” Bowlsby said to the paper. “The ACC is one of them. It’s a process of discovery that would provide some of the benefits of larger membership without actually adding members.”

The potential alliance would be for the purposes of scheduling, marketing and possibly television partnerships. The agreement would be for both football and basketball leagues, and could be extended to other sports. Any agreement could also include participation in bowl games to “share post-season inventory, allowing us more flexibility.”

Bowlsby said the four leagues involved have had “multiple discussions” about this possible alliance, but that such talks have been “purely exploratory” so far. He added that the topic likely would be discussed during the Big 12 athletic directors meetings that begin Monday.

In the ever-changing conference landscape, Bowlsby insisted an alliance of conferences should not be considered a sign of future expansion for any of the leagues involved.

“If anything, it’s the opposite,” Bowlsby said. “You can begin to get some advantages without taking on any of the disadvantages [of expansion]. It’s one option that allows benefits. It’s kind of like friends with benefits.”