The world of major college sports continues to radically change, and over the next few years things will look totally different from how they’ve been throughout the 20th century and much of the 21st. The recent Supreme Court decision regarding what colleges could do regarding the regulation of athletes’ earnings has resulted in individual football players on campuses from Alabama to TSU and beyond making huge endorsement deals before they ever step on a field or a court. These are only the tip of the iceberg as athletes in all sports are now free to reap the dividends from name, image and likeness (NIL) deals with manufacturers and corporations.

The next big step came with the Universities of Texas and Oklahoma announced they would be joining the Southeastern Conference, deserting the Big 12. The SEC was already the nation’s most profitable conference, and now it was adding to its ranks in the coming years the two most prominent members of a major rival among the Power Five conferences. Many observers wondered if this move was signaling the end of the Big 12, and also wondering what response would come from others like the Big 10. ACC or Pac-10.

Well it didn’t take long for the next major step to be announced. This week it’s expected that the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 will create an alliance to battle the SEC. According to reports in the sports journal The Athletic, this deal will include scheduling ramifications. As an example of what might potentially occur, such teams as Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, and USC could schedule each other. No one is sure what Notre Dame will do given what’s happened. They’ve enjoyed a partial alliance with the ACC, one that gives them easy entrance into the NCAA Basketball Tournament, while still playing a full-time independent schedule in football. If this alliance takes place, then will they suddenly decide to join it for football and bring their national network into the new alliance?

Meanwhile, the small colleges and HBCUs have been left out of all this maneuvering and realignment. Many HBCUs depend on football and basketball games with  Power 5 and major conference foes for revenue boosts. There’s talk that when all the realignment and alliances are completed, no Power 5 or major conference team will be allowed to schedule games out of conference. 

It would be quite interesting to see what might happen if the MEAC and SWAC would decide to join forces, or if the HBCUs would unite and create their own broadcasting network for football and basketball. Currently a handful of HBCU schools get coverage on ESPN + and a few lucky ones even pop up on ESPNU or ESPN II for selected games. Sadly, the type of coverage that they used to get when BET would present a Black College Football Game of the Week or the Black Mutual Network aired a weekly game on radio isn’t in place at the moment. Hopefully their interests will be factored into some of the changes happening on the major college scene.

But one thing is certain: the world of bigtime college football and basketball is evolving and things are going to look and be different five to ten years from now. How different no one can predict at this time.