It might be time to start getting yourself familiar with a whole new set of opponents, Wildcat Nation.
Ross Dellenger of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Big 12 Conference met Thursday and approved Arizona as the 14th member of its conference for the 2024-25 academic year. All that would stand in the way of the Wildcats joining would be the backing of the Arizona Board of Regents, which also met Thursday evening in executive session to “for possible legal advice and discussion regarding university athletics.”
No public action was taken at the meeting, which was held virtually and went into executive session (behind closed doors) almost immediately.
CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported that Arizona was a “hard lean” toward leaving the Pac-12 for he Big 12, a move prompted by Colorado’s departure last week for the Big 12 as well as the Pac-12’s lack of a new media rights deal.
Colorado was a member of the Big 12 (previously Big 8) dating back to the 1940s before joining the Pac-12 in 2011. Arizona has been in the Pac-12 (formerly Pacific-10) since leaving the Western Athletic Conference in 1978.
Both UA president Robert Robbins and ASU president Michael Crow were in attendance for the virtual ABOR meeting, as ASU has also been reported as a target to join the Big 12. Same goes for Utah, but Dellenger reported that decisions for those two schools “have not progressed as quickly” as Arizona. Chris Karpman of 247Sports reported Crow is “gumming up the process” of ASU joining the UA in the Big 12.
Dellenger also is reporting that a meeting is scheduled for Friday where a grant of rights from a proposed media deal with Apple will be presented to Pac-12 members, including those possibly on the way out the door. That deal, first presented by commissioner George Kliavkoff on Tuesday, reportedly is almost exclusively streaming and includes tiered payouts based on new Apple subscriptions.
Asked about his football team’s future conference affiliation, Jedd Fisch said during media day on Tuesday that Arizona “is a great brand and will be just fine” regardless of what league it plays in.
The Big 12 has 14 members for the 2023-24 seasons, with BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF joining this year, while Oklahoma and Texas leave next July for the SEC but now would apparently be replaced by Arizona and Colorado.