After a week of intense speculation that Arizona might leave the Pac-12 for the Big 12, the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) may finally be setting the ball in motion.
ABOR will convene Thursday evening in executive action to discuss “possible legal advice and discussion regarding university athletics” for the state’s two major universities, Arizona and ASU.
This is like when Mom made you bring your stupid little brother along when she drives you to the mall to hang out with your friends https://t.co/Q7iqh28XUV— AZ Desert Swarm (@AZDesertSwarm) August 3, 2023
This is the second time ABOR will meet in executive action—in other words, behind closed doors—having previously met Tuesday. The Tuesday meeting came the same day that Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff presented a media rights deal to the nine remaining Pac-12 presidents that reportedly would make Apple the primary media partner and would pay schools approximately $20 million in annual revenue.
The Apple deal included “incentivization in tiers with a significant upside for Pac-12 teams if certain subscription numbers are met,” sources told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd.
Pac-12 presidents did not agree to the deal during the meeting, and a second meeting is reportedly scheduled.
The way things are heading, Kliavkoff might not have another chance to present in front of Arizona president Robert Robbins and ASU president Michael Crow.
Whereas the agenda for the Tuesday meeting was ambiguous, this meeting’s agenda is clear as day: the board plans to discuss Arizona and ASU’s future conference affiliation.
It sounds increasingly likely that Arizona and ASU will make a joint decision on whether to remain in the Pac-12 or leave for the Big 12. A source told The Action Netowrk’s Brett McMurphy: “I find it hard to imagine the State of Arizona Board of Regents would be willing to allow one of its institutions to leave the Pac-12 while the other stays. That doesn’t seem logical.”
Arizona Board of Regents calls Thursday night meeting. Source tells @ActionNetworkHQ: “I find it hard to imagine the State of Arizona Board of Regents would be willing to allow one of its institutions to leave the Pac-12 while the other stays. That doesn't seem logical.” pic.twitter.com/ppai3ea7l9— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 3, 2023
Among the topics that might be discussed at Thursday’s ABOR meeting are whether Utah would join the Arizona schools in bolting for the Pac-12, whether the Big 12 would pay Arizona and ASU a full media revenue share, and what implications a conference move could mean for the schools’ athletic department budgets.
What’s unlikely to occur Thursday is a formal vote on whether Arizona and ASU will join the Big 12. Such a vote would likely have to be performed in a public rather than private setting, as was the case last week when Colorado voted to leave the Pac-12 for the Big 12 in 2024.
However, what’s discussed in the Thursday likely will seal Arizona and ASU’s conference affiliation fate.