Big Ten Confernece Sep 1, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; A detailed view of the Big Ten logo on the field prior to the game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

When the Big Ten first announced the addition of USC and UCLA in June, many around the college football world assumed the conference would look to add more Pac-12 teams in the coming weeks and months. That no longer appears likely, and there might be a hidden legal reason why.

In an interview with CBS Sports, former Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson suggested that the Big Ten might be holding off adding more Pac-12 teams immediately following USC and UCLA‘s addition to prevent any allegations of collusion.

“Maybe the reason Washington and Oregon didn’t go with USC and UCLA [to the Big Ten] at the same time is the fear of collusion,” Benson told CBS Sports. “That’s a legitimate concern of the damages that one conference does to another.”

After the most recent conference realignment moves, the Big Ten and SEC effectively dominate college football. If either conference were to add additional powerhouse teams from either the Big 12 or the Pac-12, Benson suggests that could be grounds for an antitrust suit.

“[No one has] ever gone in and gutted a conference,” Benson added. “If the Big Ten gutted a conference and took Washington and Oregon, [if I was Pac-12 commissioner] George Kliavkoff, I might pursue antitrust action there.”

One way or another, college football realignment is going to get very interesting in the coming years.

[CBS Sports]