The week before Cal Football is about to begin, Monday and Tuesday brought the news that affects the conference to the Cal game attendee. We’ll start at the top.
Would you like to form an alliance with me?
The Pac-12, ACC, and Big Ten have announced their intention to join forces that will tie 41 programs and institutions together to pursue academic and athletic opportunities. After weeks of rumors following the news of Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC, the alliance is a response to the rapidly changing landscape of collegiate athletics.
GREENSBORO, NC & ROSEMONT, IL & SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 today announced an historic alliance that will bring 41 world-class institutions together on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling.
The alliance – which was unanimously supported by the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors at all 41 institutions – will be guided in all cases by a commitment to, and prioritization of, supporting student-athlete well-being, academic and athletic opportunities, experiences and diverse educational programming. The three conferences are grounded in their support of broad-based athletic programs, the collegiate model and opportunities for student-athletes as part of the educational missions of the institutions.
The three conferences remain competitors in every sense but are committed to collaborating and providing thought leadership on various opportunities and challenges facing college athletics, including:
Student-athlete mental and physical health, safety, wellness and support
Strong academic experience and support
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Future structure of the NCAA
Federal legislative efforts
Postseason championships and future formats
The alliance includes a scheduling component for football and women’s and men’s basketball designed to create new inter-conference games, enhance opportunities for student-athletes, and optimize the college athletics experience for both student-athletes and fans across the country. The scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations. A working group comprised of athletic directors representing the three conferences will oversee the scheduling component of the alliance, including determining the criteria upon which scheduling decisions will be made. All three leagues and their respective institutions understand that scheduling decisions will be an evolutionary process given current scheduling commitments.
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.
In women’s and men’s basketball, the three conferences will add early and mid-season games as well as annual events that feature premier matchups between the three leagues.
The three conferences will also explore opportunities for the vast and exceptional Olympic Sports programs to compete more frequently and forge additional attractive and meaningful rivalries.
The future scheduling component will benefit student-athletes and fans by offering new and memorable experiences that will extend coast-to-coast, across all time zones. The competition will bring a new level of excitement to the fans of the 41 schools while also allowing teams and conferences to have flexibility to continue to play opponents from other conferences, independents and various teams from other subdivisions.
“The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 recognize the unique environment and challenges currently facing intercollegiate athletics, and we are proud and confident in this timely and necessary alliance that brings together like-minded institutions and conferences focused on the overall educational missions of our preeminent institutions,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “The alliance will ensure that the educational outcomes and experiences for student-athletes participating at the highest level of collegiate athletics will remain the driving factor in all decisions moving forward.”
“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 Conferences” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “Today, through this alliance, we furthered our commitment to our student-athletes by prioritizing our academics and athletics value systems. We are creating opportunities for student-athletes to have elite competition and are taking the necessary steps to shape and stabilize the future of college athletics.”
“The historic alliance announced today between the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten is grounded in a commitment to our student-athletes,” said Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff. “We believe that collaborating together we are stronger in our commitment to addressing the broad issues and opportunities facing college athletics.”
The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences include:
World-leading academic institutions committed to the shared values of supporting the next generation of leaders.
Innovative research that benefits communities around the world.
27 of the 34 Autonomy 5 members in Association of American Universities (AAU).
34 institutions ranked in the Top 100 national universities by US News & World Report.
Broad-based athletic and academic programs.
A long heritage of leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion.
Over 27,000 student-athletes competing on 863 teams in 31 sports.
A combined 1,019 NCAA Championships.
Longstanding relationships across bowl partnerships, men’s and women’s basketball challenges and Olympic Sport events.
194 Olympic medals won in Tokyo by current, former and future student-athletes.
Some of the most iconic and historic venues in college sports.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in direct annual institutional support of student-athlete scholarships.
Over $15 billion in annual federal research support, nearly one-third of the total across all colleges and universities.
Quotes from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 CEO chairs:
Duke University President & Chair of the ACC Board of Directors Vincent E. Price
“The alliance is first and foremost a statement about the vital connection of academic excellence to college athletics. Our members include 41 of the top public and private universities in the world which will soon have new ways to compete at the very highest levels in sports, and to collaborate in education, research and service to society. Together we will be able to use our strong voice and united vision to create the best possible experience for our student-athletes and institutions.”
University of Wisconsin Chancellor and Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) Chair Dr. Rebecca Blank:
“The Big Ten Conference has always prioritized academic excellence as well as athletic excellence for student-athletes. Today’s announcement reinforces the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness among all members of this alliance and provides additional opportunities for our student-athletes to enhance their collegiate experience.”
University of Oregon President & Chair of the Pac-12 Board of Directors Michael Schill
"The Pac-12 is thrilled to join with so many world-class universities in a collaborative effort to support our student-athletes through an unwavering commitment to excellence in academics and athletics. Together we can help shape a future for college athletics where broad-based athletic programs in concert with educational opportunities allow us to support the next generation of leaders."
Breaking through with Crypto at Cal
Cal Athletics announced on Monday that they had entered a 10-year field naming rights sponsorship with FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange. This is absolutely ground-breaking as Cal is now the first collegiate program that signs a deal with a cryptocurrency company. What does this mean? It’s a field naming rights deal which means it is now FTX Field at Memorial Stadium. (Flashbacks of Kabam). We will also see FTX on the press background banners.
BERKELEY – Cal Athletics and its multimedia rightsholder, LEARFIELD's Cal Bears Sports Properties, and West Realm Shires Services Inc., owners and operators of FTX.US ("FTX"), a leading U.S.-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, announced Monday the first-ever collegiate cryptocurrency naming rights sponsorship. As part of the $17.5 million deal, LEARFIELD will accept the full payment in cryptocurrency on behalf of the university.
Through this historic, 10-year agreement, FTX receives naming rights to the field at California Memorial Stadium, which will be known as FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium.
"We believe we have found a great partner in FTX," Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. "FTX is a growing company at the forefront of innovation in an emerging technology, one that fits well at both Cal and in the Bay Area. This agreement extends well beyond field naming rights, which is part of our strategic plan to diversify revenue streams in support of our student-athlete experience, and includes commitments for our Cameron Institute, Cal Veterans and students in need here in Berkeley. We are looking forward to building our relationship now and in the years ahead."
Through their new relationship, Cal Athletics and FTX will support and build out a community engagement program for the Cameron Institute for Student-Athlete Development. One of the primary focal points for the institute, the community engagement pillar helps student-athletes understand the benefits of public service and success through short-term and long-term commitments. With a significant financial investment from FTX, these efforts will initially focus on serving communities including the homeless population in Berkeley, underrepresented students and the Cal Veterans Group.
Cal and FTX share a connection in FTX.US's Chief Operating Officer Sina Nader, who earned his bachelor's degree in legal studies from Cal and was also a walk-on member of the Golden Bears football team during his time there.
Nader commented on the agreement, "We're excited to partner with one of the world's great universities and expand crypto's presence into the collegiate athletics landscape. This historic partnership will also allow us to collaborate on charitable initiatives that align with our organization's core values. Personally, I am excited to work alongside my alma mater to collaborate with local communities around a variety of causes. In the spirit of giving back, we are also committing an additional $200,000 on top of this partnership, which will specifically be used to help fight homelessness in Berkeley, and to support organizations that help underrepresented student groups at UC Berkeley. "
“This is a landmark agreement in many respects, including payment in cryptocurrency,” said Andy McDowell, vice president and general manager for LEARFIELD’s Cal Bears Sports Properties. “This was a true collaboration allowing us to thoughtfully navigate an emerging category with a wide reach beyond just athletics. We worked closely with Cal Athletics in bringing this FTX relationship to life, in an effort to support a historic stadium and to touch the entire campus community.”
In addition to field-naming rights, the relationship between Cal Athletics and FTX will feature new on-field branding and branding on athletics press backdrops, social integration, as well as the launch of a robust community service platform that will support projects across a variety of philanthropic causes.
There’s an app for that. The Cal App.
The Cal Athletics department has announced its new app that will be the comprehensive Cal news and social experience. It will also be the way to handle all of your tickets and mobile ticketing so that you do not need to carry around screenshots or printed tickets!
The official University of California Berkeley Athletics app is a must-have for fans headed to campus or following the Golden Bears from afar. With interactive social media, and all the scores and stats surrounding the game, the California Golden Bears app covers it all! App also available for tablets.
SOCIAL STREAM - View and contribute to real-time Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds from the team and fans
SCORES & STATS - All the scores, stats, and play-by-play information that fans need and expect during live games
NOTIFICATIONS - Custom alert notifications to let fans know important news
MOBILE TICKETS - Purchase and Manage your Cal tickets through the app