Conference Realignment

Texas, Oklahoma, USC, UCLA

conference realignment

Conference realignment is at the forefront of the conversation in college athletics. Texas and Oklahoma, bound for the SEC, were the first big dominoes to fall, kicking off the largest collegiate athletics shakeup in over a decade. Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington followed suit with bombshell announcement to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten. But the reshuffle – the first phase kicked into effect on July 1 – goes much deeper than those five programs.

Keep tabs on this page for the latest in conference realignment, from college football to college basketball and beyond.

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Conference Realignment 2024: ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC

The largest conference realignment in modern college football history takes effect on July 1. Conference moves include all sports unless otherwise noted.

ACC Moves

TeamComing From (since)Previous Affiliations
CalPac-12 (1959)Pacific Coast
SMUAmerican (2013)CUSA, WAC, SWC
StanfordPac-12 (1959)Pacific Coast

Perhaps the least planned out of the moves, the ACC scooped up Cal and Stanford from a disbanding Pac-12. The schools certainly meet and elevate the ACC’s academic prowess, joining schools like Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia. Further, the conference decided to add SMU, who was long rumored to want out of the American, even flirting with the Pac-12 at one point.

The Mustangs bring the most success on the football field. However, that success in the 1980s was marred by the infamous Death Penalty that the program is just beginning to recover from. SMU’s “Pony Express” team won National Championships in 1981 and 1982.

Big Ten Conference Moves

TeamComing From (since)Previous Affiliations
OregonPac-12 (1964)Pacific Coast, Independent
UCLAPac-12 (1959)Pacific Coast
USCPac-12 (1959)Pacific Coast
WashingtonPac-12 (1959)Pacific Coast

The Big Ten officially adds Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington as full-time members this season. The Bruins-Trojans package was the second major domino to fall, kicking off a cascading departure of Pac-12 teams from the league. Eventually, the Ducks and Huskies followed suit, forcing the Pac-12 to all but disband. This move also marked the end of regionalized college football. Concerns arose from Big Ten expansion specifically about college football falling into a model too close to the NFL.

These four programs bring a ton of prestige and history to the Big Ten. Washington most recently finished as the national runners-up in 2023. Oregon last appeared in a National Championship in 2015, USC in 2004, and UCLA in 1954.

Big 12 Conference Moves

TeamComing From (since)Previous Affiliations
ArizonaPac-12 (1978)WAC, BIAA
Arizona StatePac-12 (1978)WAC, BIAA
ColoradoPac-12 (2011)Big 12, MSAC, RMC, Independent
UtahPac-12 (2011)MWC, WAC, Skyline, MSAC, RMC, Independent

Big 12 returns longtime member Colorado after a 12-year hiatus along with Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah. The four schools cemented the future (or lack thereof) of the Pac-12. While they greatly expand the geographic footprint of the Big 12, they’re contiguous with the existing states and make lots of sense. The move also preserves the Territorial Cup between the Arizona schools.

The Big 12 previously added BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF in 2023. Their two headlining teams, Oklahoma and Texas, depart for the SEC. The four inbound teams bring moderate success on the football field, with Arizona just coming off a 10-win season. The vast majority of Colorado’s national prominence came in the Big 12/8.

SEC Moves

TeamComing From (since)Previous Affiliations
OklahomaBig 12 (1928)MVIAA, SWC, Independent
TexasBig 12 (1996)SWC, Independent

The move that kicked this major conference realignment off, Oklahoma and Texas announced their intent to leave the Big 12 back in 2021. The two programs are inside the top six in all-time wins and bring a combined 11 National Championships. The Sooners and Longhorns expand the geographic footprint of the SEC slightly, adding Oklahoma and central Texas. Regionally and culturally, the move makes sense.

Texas was a participant in the 2023 College Football Playoff, losing to Washington in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma last appeared in the CFP in 2019. However, the question arises whether the two programs can remain dominant in the nation’s premier conference.

More Conference Realignment Moves

AAC Adds Army As 14th Member

In a quiet and surprising move, the AAC confirmed Army as its 14th member beginning in 2024. Notably, the AAC added six new programs in 2023, but lost SMU to the ACC beginning the following year. Army has not been a part of a conference since 2004 (Conference USA).

Delaware To Make FBS Jump, Join Conference USA

Delaware is expected to move up to the FBS – becoming the league’s 135th member – and join Conference USA for the 2025 football season. ESPN’s Pete Thamel broke the news on Nov. 27, 2023.

Conference Realignment Timeline, Rumors

July 1, 2025: Delaware joins the FBS as 135th member.

July 1, 2024: All programs slated to move in 2024 become official members. Kennesaw State becomes the 134th FBS member, joins Conference USA.

2023

Dec. 21, 2023: Florida State begins legal investigation into ACC’s Grant of Rights and potential out. The investigation didn’t last long and appears to be tabled for the immediate future.

Nov. 27, 2023: Delaware to join FBS ranks, Conference USA for the 2025 football season.

Oct. 25, 2023: The American adds Army as its future 14th member beginning ahead of the 2024 football season.

Sept. 1, 2023: ACC votes to add Cal, SMU, and Stanford beginning in 2024.

Aug. 4, 2023: Oregon and Washington will be invited to the Big Ten and are expected to leave the Pac-12. The Big 12 also voted unanimously to add Arizona State and Utah to the league, beginning in 2024.

July 26, 2023: Colorado confirmed it will leave the Pac-12 after 12 years and return to the Big 12 beginning in 2024.

July 1, 2023: 12 schools move conferences, two more (Jacksonville State, Sam Houston State) join the FBS ranks.

June 16, 2023: San Diego State announces its intent to leave the Mountain West for the Pac-12. The Mountain West later denied the request.

May 15, 2023: Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellinger reports that the Pac-12 is looking to add San Diego State, “possibly” SMU.

Feb. 9, 2023: Oklahoma and Texas reached an early exit agreement with Big 12, will begin SEC membership in 2024.

2022

Dec. 14, 2022: University of California’s board of regents approve UCLA and USC’s departure to the Big Ten beginning July 1, 2024.

Oct. 14, 2022: Kennesaw State announces its intent to join the FBS and CUSA, becoming its 134th member.

June 30, 2022: UCLA, USC announce their intent to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten.

June 15, 2022: AAC approves membership for its six new members, beginning July 1, 2023.

2021

Nov 5, 2021: Liberty, New Mexico State announce plans to join CUSA. Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State also announce their move to the FBS ranks – becoming members No. 132 and No. 133 – and join CUSA in 2023.

Oct. 21, 2021: Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA announce their departure from CUSA to AAC.

July 30, 2021: Oklahoma, Texas boards unanimously approve move to SEC.

July 26, 2021: Oklahoma, Texas announce intent to leave Big 12 Conference and join the SEC.