According to a source familiar with the matter, Arizona is currently in discussions to join the Big 12 conference. However, the final decision will largely depend on the outcome of a board of regents meeting that is set to take place on Thursday night. It is also speculated that Arizona State may follow suit and join the Wildcats in this move.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, explained that both the university and the conference are not yet ready to extend an invitation to Arizona. Furthermore, it appears that Arizona State is not as far along in the process, which could potentially slow down Arizona's final decision. The Tucson-based school would prefer to be aligned with its Tempe-based rivals.
Several key university boards are holding special meetings to address the possibility of more Pac-12 schools leaving the conference. The Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees both Arizona and Arizona State, is specifically looking into legal advice and discussing university athletics. The University of Washington regents have also scheduled a special meeting to address pending or potential litigation with counsel.
Notably, Southern California and UCLA are already set to join the Big Ten conference next year, while Colorado will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12. This leaves the Pac-12 with nine schools currently, and they have yet to secure a media rights deal beyond the upcoming school year. The Big Ten has expressed interest in forming a partnership with the struggling Pac-12. Other remaining schools in the conference have not announced any regent or trustee meetings at this time.
It is clear that uncertainty looms over the entire conference as these discussions and potential shake-ups continue.
The Shifting Landscape of College Football
A Dire Situation for the Pac-12
The future of college football hangs in the balance as the Pac-12 conference faces unprecedented challenges. Washington State football coach, Jake Dickert, expressed his disbelief at the current state of affairs, emphasizing the potential loss of local rivalries and the inconvenience it would cause for devoted fans.
An Uncertain Media Rights Deal
Pac-12 Commissioner, George Kliavkoff, recently unveiled the details of a media rights deal. However, no decision has been made and the proposed agreement falls short of expectations. In an unexpected move, Apple TV+ emerged as a potential primary home for Pac-12, diverting attention from more established networks such as ESPN or Fox.
Potential Fallout and Realignment
The repercussions could be dire for the Pac-12 conference. Rumors suggest that more schools may defect, leading to the fragmentation of the once-revered "Conference of Champions" that traces its origins back to 1915. The Big Ten, in particular, has expressed interest in adding West Coast schools to its roster, primarily targeting Oregon and Washington. Meanwhile, the Big 12 has set its sights on corner schools like Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State.
A Troubling Future
With one school already departed and others teetering on the edge, the Pac-12 is facing an uncertain future. This prestigious conference, renowned for nurturing legendary sports figures like Jackie Robinson, John Elway, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, now finds itself at a crossroads. What lies ahead for college football remains unclear, but the potential ramifications are significant.