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Arizona announces 10-year scheduling series with NAU

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 07 Northern Arizona at Arizona Getty

The Arizona Wildcats announced Friday that they have agreed to a new 10-year scheduling series with Northern Arizona that will begin in 2021-22 and includes “all sports that are sponsored by both athletics departments.”

Those sports are:

  • Men’s and Women’s Basketball
  • Men’s and Women’s Cross Country
  • Football
  • Women’s Golf
  • Women’s Soccer
  • Women’s Swimming & Diving
  • Men’s and Women’s Tennis
  • Men’s and Women’s Track & Field
  • Women’s Volleyball

Per the UA release, the scheduling series will feature competitions in both Tucson and Flagstaff in a home-and-home format when possible. Except for football and men’s basketball as “the two schools’ men’s basketball programs will look to open each season with a head-to-head meeting in McKale Center to create an exciting annual tip-off event for fans.”

Arizona football was already scheduled to host NAU in 2021, 2023, 2024, 2026 and 2027 but will now add four more dates between 2030 to 2036. There will be a gap from 2027 to 2030 due to prior scheduling commitments.

“Continuing our scheduling efforts with Northern Arizona for the next decade is an exciting initiative for our athletics department, university and state,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. “Ensuring our sport programs compete within our great state enhances the student-athlete experience, generates excitement for our fans, eases non-conference scheduling challenges and creates a stronger economic impact within our state’s footprint. I look forward to watching student-athletes compete in our state while representing these outstanding Arizona universities.”

The in-state series also helps cut costs after the coronavirus pandemic left both schools with a sizable budget deficit.

“This scheduling series is an offspring of conversations centered on the way Intercollegiate Athletics may look in our state and region for the immediate future,” NAU athletic director Mike Marlow said. “An emphasis on regionalized scheduling is certainly something that has become a priority. Our student-athletes, coaches and fans will very much look forward to competing more regularly with the Wildcats in both Tucson and at 7,000 feet in Flagstaff.”