IT’S OFFICIAL: Arizona, Arizona State, Utah move to Big 12

Pac-12 likely finished as Oregon, Washington also announce plans to leave conference
(Arizona Athletics)
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 7:43 PM MST|Updated: Aug. 4, 2023 at 8:38 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - One of the worst-kept secrets in all of sports has been announced and the Pac-12, which has been around for more than 50 years, could be dead.

On Friday, Aug. 4, the Big 12 announced the University of Arizona, Arizona State and Utah are leaving the Pac-12.

The Wildcats will play in the college’s newest super conference starting in fall 2024.

The Big 12 currently includes BYU, Baylor, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia. Oklahoma and the University of Texas are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC next year.

Also on Friday, Oregon and Washington announced they were bolting the Pac-12 for the Big Ten. That is the same conference that grabbed Southern Cal and UCLA last year.

Friday’s announcements come just weeks after Colorado left the Pac-12 for the Big 12.

Yahoo and ESPN reported Thursday that the Big 12 approved the Wildcats’ move. All Arizona needed was approval from the Arizona Board of Regents.

ABOR met Thursday night in an executive session to discuss “possible legal advice and discussion regarding university athletics.” No word on what ABOR decided, if anything.

The Pac-12, once dominant in the college sports world, is but a shell of its former self. If all the moves are approved, the conference will have only four teams.

Those teams -- Oregon State, Cal, Washington State and Stanford -- could struggle to keep the conference going. There is a chance those four could find new homes too.

The irony is there were reports the Big 12 once offered the Pac-12 a deal to merge. The Pac-12 did not go through with the deal.

In hindsight, it may be one of the poorest business decisions since Blockbuster passed on the chance to buy Netflix.

The President of the University of Arizona, Robert Robbins, released the following statement:

“I am pleased to share that the University of Arizona will join the Big 12 Conference in all sports beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year.

As many of you know, athletics serves as the front porch for the University of Arizona, as it is a rallying point for alumni and fans and creates pride in our community both here in Arizona and around the world. Arizona Athletics is positioned well for long-term success, as our goal always was to secure a bright future for our student-athletes, fans and the entire university community.

I want to thank Athletics Director Dave Heeke for his partnership. We share a deep sense of pride in the University of Arizona, with its national presence and championship legacy that resonates throughout college athletics, and I look forward to his continued leadership in the years to come. Our move to the Big 12 Conference will continue to raise the university’s profile by increasing visibility, growing our reach across the country and around the globe, expanding our pool of prospective students, providing more resources to support our student-athletes, and presenting them with greater NIL prospects. We look forward to beginning a new era next year with fresh opportunities for athletics to fulfill its Wildcat Way mission to develop academic, athletic and life champions.

Whether current students or employees, alumni, or community members, the Wildcat Family is passionate and strong, and I am grateful for its amazing and unwavering support of our student-athletes and programs. Arizona will continue to compete for championships on this expanded stage in front of our fans in a variety of old and new footprints, and I look forward to sharing in those experiences with you.

I want to thank the Pac-12 Conference for being an excellent home for the University of Arizona for so many years and for reliably supporting our university. We will enjoy our final year as a Pac-12 institution, along with Big 12-bound members Arizona State, Utah and Colorado, while looking forward to our future as part of the Big 12 Conference next summer.”

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