credit to yahoo sports
Three more schools from the Pac-12 are moving to the Big 12.
The Big 12 said Friday night that Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah will join the conference in 2024.
The Big 12 would have 16 teams by 2024 with three new members. Colorado left the Pac-12 for the Big 12 last week, and BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF joined the conference after Oklahoma and Texas left for the SEC.
“”We’re excited to have Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah join the Big 12,” said Brett Yormark, commissioner of the Big 12. “The conference is getting three top schools in academics and sports, and everyone in the Big 12 is excited to work with their presidents, athletic directors, student-athletes, and administrators.”
In a meeting on Thursday night, the Arizona Board of Regents, which is in charge of Arizona and Arizona State, voted in favor of moving to the Big 12. This means the Big 12 can now accept formal applications from these two schools. On Friday afternoon, Utah sent in its application, and its board met a few hours later to vote.
Thursday, executives from the Big 12 met to approve Arizona’s request to join the league. Arizona State and Utah weren’t as sure about leaving the Pac-12, but their minds were changed after Oregon and Washington were invited to join the Big Ten on Friday.
Since 1978, Arizona and Arizona State have been part of the Pac-12. Before they left to make the Pac-8 into the Pac-10, they were some of the first teams to join the old Western Athletic Conference. After 45 years, the two will move together to another conference.
“Arizona Athletics is set up well for long-term success,” said Robert Robbins, president of the University of Arizona. “Our goal has always been to ensure that our student-athletes, fans, and the whole university community have a bright future.” “Moving to the Big 12 conference will continue to raise the University’s profile by making it more visible, expanding our reach across the country and around the world, attracting more potential students, giving our student-athletes more resources to help them, and giving them better NIL prospects.”
Michael Crow, the president of ASU, said, “We are excited for this new chapter. This move is necessary for us to stay competitive in Division 1 sports at the highest level.” “We’re joining a top athletic conference, bringing up-and-coming teams, a lot of history and tradition, and the metro Phoenix media market. We’re in a good place and happy to be moving with Arizona and Utah.”
On the other hand, Utah is switching leagues for the second time in 12 years. Utah was a founding member of the WAC, like Arizona and ASU, and stayed in that league until 1999. From there, the Utes played in the Mountain West until 2011, when they moved to the Pac-12.
“I’m very excited about the future of the University of Utah in the Big 12. Joining our peers from Colorado and Arizona in the Pac-12 and Association of American Universities is important to our mission and makes sense, as does renewing our historic rivalry with Brigham Young University, which is also in Utah, “said Taylor Randall, the president of Utah. “Being in the Pac-12 has helped the University of Utah grow and shown that our student-athletes can compete at the highest levels on and off the field. Our move to the Big 12 will not change that position.”
In the last 13 months, Arizona, ASU, and Utah will be the sixth, seventh, and eighth schools to leave the Pac-12. In July, UCLA and USC said they would join the Big Ten starting in 2024. Then, Colorado started the most recent round of realignment last week. On Friday, Oregon and Washington left the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.
Since the Pac-12 was about to fall apart, the three schools chose the safety of the Big.
Why are the Pac-12 losing schools?
Since USC and UCLA left the league, the Pac-12 has been in trouble. Since last year, the conference has tried hard to get a new media rights deal. All the while, the Big 12 has been working hard to find candidates for expansion. It has already extended its media rights deals with ESPN and Fox through 2031.
Commissioner George Kliavkoff had not shown the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors any financial numbers about a new media rights deal as of last week. The uncertainty was too much for Colorado, so the school moved to the more stable Big 12 Conference.
The details of the media rights deal were finally given to the presidents and chancellors of the Pac-12 on Tuesday. In the deal, Apple’s streaming service was the prominent owner of the rights, and ESPN and Fox might be able to get sub-licenses to use the content. The Pac-12’s deal with ESPN and Fox for TV rights ends next July.
When Colorado officially left, school officials said the Big 12’s TV deal was better because of its visibility and reach. The Pac-12 deal would give the Big 12 a smaller revenue share.
“We want to work with Fox and ESPN,” Colorado AD Rick George told reporters at a news conference in Boulder last Thursday.
George also said leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12 would give the team “better time slots” and “more national exposure” than staying in the Pac-12.
Randall, the president of Utah, said on Friday that the Utes decided to leave the Pac-12 because of “stronger forces” in college sports and a “greater media landscape.”
“I’m thankful for all the hard work that my Pac-12 conference colleagues did to keep the conference together and find a way forward to help all our students, fans, and communities. In the end, this decision was made because of more vital forces in national college sports and the media as a whole. I hope the strong bonds we’ve built in the Pac-12 over the past 12 years will last, “Says Randall.
Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said, “After extensive and comprehensive efforts to keep our current conference affiliation after UCLA and USC announced they were leaving last year, we have looked at all of our options and decided that joining the Big 12 is the best way for Utah to continue to build on its tremendous growth trajectory.”
Because of this problem with media rights, the Pac-12 now only has four schools: Cal, Oregon State, Stanford, and Washington State. The league’s future is in danger.
In a statement released Friday night, the Pac-12 said, “Today’s news is very disappointing for student-athletes, fans, alumni, and staff who value the over 100-year history, traditions, and rivalries of the Conference of Champions.” “We continue to work hard to ensure that each of our member universities has the best future possible.”
Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports heard from sources that the leaders of the four remaining Pac-12 schools have discussed a possible merger or partnership with the Mountain West schools. The Mountain West has to pay $34 million to leave before the 2024 season, so adding candidates from the MWC to the Pac-12 is unlikely, but a partnership of some kind could be a good idea.