Fortuna Files: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
The Big 12 could end the Pac-12 as we know it, which could benefit the Big Ten. And what's the deal with the ACC?
On the day that the college sports hierarchy as we know it threatened to come apart at the seams, SEC leadership gathered in the Big Ten’s backyard for a meeting of the minds.
Was a turf war brewing between the nation’s two-most powerful conferences?
Of course not — although that is about the only thing that can be said with any certainty after an afternoon that saw the Pac-12 teeter on the brink of elimination, the Big Ten entertain the idea of expanding into the Pacific Northwest, and Florida State publicly declare that it has no long-term use for the ACC.
And that was just on Hump Day.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and his league’s athletic directors just happened to be at Wrigley Field on Wednesday for a tour of the 109-year-old ballpark, a gathering that was weeks in the making, with the visit serving as a field trip of sorts for ADs looking for the best ways to modernize their historic stadiums back on campus.
Oh, and they also saw the Cubs amass 16 runs one night after branding the Reds for 20, a two-day output that would make even Tennessee’s offense blush with envy.
Windy City baseball. It just means more.
The SEC was the only power conference to avoid the expansion headlines on Wednesday, at least directly. The storm clouds are gathering elsewhere, however, starting out West, where the Arizona board of regents has called yet another special board meetings and executive session, for 6 p.m. PT Thursday.
As one Power 5 administrator texted Wednesday: “I think you’ll see a massive shift, maybe days.”
Within an hour, the same administrator sent a follow-up text: “Maybe hours.”
Here is where matters currently stand across the country ahead of what is sure to be a busy Thursday.
Can the Big 12 deal the Pac-12 a final blow?
It really is remarkable how quickly the tables have turned between the Big 12 and the Pac-12. I was reminded of that via Twitter, where an astute reader regurgitated an old tweet that had teased a story I had written for The Athletic about the Big 12’s commissioner search back in April of 2022.