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A Dear John letter to the Pac-12

It wasn't us, it was you

arizona-wildcats-pac12-goodbye-big12-memories-highlights-criticisms Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Hey Pac-12, it’s been real. We had some good times — really good times — and some not-so-good times.

Banners have been hung, tournaments were taken over by our fans. The scent of roses was never picked up, but we’d rather not talk about that.

There were big games and crazy finishes, with #Pac12AfterDark being a rather terrifying thing. Unless you had DirecTV, in which case you were not affected by the late-night shenanigans. Or those that happened in the daytime, either.

But I digress.

All good things must come to an end, and so too must Arizona’s relationship with you.

We’ll miss you. Not really. OK, maybe a little. But not too much.

After all, being disappointed in your collapse is fair, but it’s kinda your own fault that things even got to this point. You made many mistakes, and now you’re paying the price.

Of course, we understand you were hoping this wouldn’t happen. You probably banked on the idea of keeping established rivalries, but unlucky for you ASU, Utah and Colorado are also heading for the Big 12 and UCLA was already off to the Big 10. So do you really expect us to lament the loss of Arizona vs. Oregon State, or the Wildcats vs. Cal? Maybe there is some sick person who enjoyed making the trip to Pullman, but that’s hardly the norm.

Nah, as your ship continued to sink it became clear the best course of action was to seek out a life raft, and one was thrown by the Big 12.

Maybe you see this as a safety conference, but you’re wrong. The Big 12 offers a solid media rights deal and stability. It also features excellent college towns and programs across various sports, some obvious.

I mean, Arizona vs. Kansas in men’s basketball? How about games against Houston or Baylor? Please and thank you.

Football has some excellent matchups too, and no doubt other sports will find healthy competition and in time will develop new rivalries. This will be fun!

Now, we understand there will be challenges with travel and perhaps even different styles of play within individual sports, and recruiting may have to adapt now without guaranteed games in the California, Oregon or Washington. But progress always comes at a cost, and if Arizona plays things right this one should be minimal.

Besides, that is no longer your problem to worry about and I’m betting Arizona’s leadership has considered all of this.

No, despite your last-ditch efforts to salvage things it became clear in recent days that your best ones were in the past. You may be the Conference of Champions, but today’s college athletics requires more than that. It requires more than history, traditions and Bill Walton.

If Arizona was to not only survive, but thrive it needed at least what the Big 12 had to offer. Maybe school president Dr. Robert C. Robbins said it best in a statement.

“Our move to the Big 12 Conference will continue to raise the University’s profile by increasing visibility, growing our reach across the country and around the globe, expanding our pool of prospective students, providing more resources to support our student-athletes, and presenting them with greater NIL prospects,” he said. “We look forward to beginning a new era next year with fresh opportunities for athletics to fulfill its Wildcat Way mission to develop academic, athletic, and life champions.”

Profile ... Visibility ... Reach ... Globe ... NIL ...

All of these are important, and all would have been made more difficult due to the Pac-12’s collapse whereas now the school now gets to be a part of something that is quite literally growing.

Come on, you know it’s true.

So yeah, we had a good run. But at the end of the day we both know it was time for a change. We’re sorry that means leaving you behind, but it was what’s best for Arizona.