Arizona will head to Las Vegas next week for the Pac-12 Tournament, where it has won the event four times since it was moved from Los Angeles.
Might the Wildcats be heading elsewhere for conference tourneys in the near future?
The Athletic is reporting that the Big 12 Conference has “been in recent contact” with Arizona as well as ASU, Colorado and Utah about the possibility of leaving the Pac-12 for that league. The report also says Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark is “deep in discussions” with Gonzaga about possible membership, but it’s contingent on what happens with the Pac-12 schools first.
What is likely to determine if any sort of realignment happens is the media rights deal the Pac-12 comes up with. Commissioner George Kliavkoff is trying to have something lined up by the end of March, per the Orange County Register, but if that doesn’t happen it may cause schools like Arizona to look elsewhere.
The Big 12 is adding four schools for the 2023-24 academic year, bringing in Cincinnati, Houston and UCF from the American Athletic Conference as well as BYU, which is independent in football and plays all other sports in the West Coast Conference. Oklahoma and Texas are leaving for the SEC in 2024-25, so the Big 12 will have 14 schools for one year before dipping down to 12.
The Pac-12, which loses UCLA and USC in 2024-25, has reportedly been looking to add schools such as San Diego State and SMU to its register.