Arizona State and Arizona athletics in the Pac-12 conference face an uncertain future as the Arizona Board of Regents prepares for a virtual meeting to discuss their potential departure. The Big 12 conference has reportedly expressed interest in adding both ASU and Arizona, but approval from the ABOR is necessary for them to leave the Pac-12.
In a private session, the board previously discussed conference affiliation and media rights deals, raising speculation about the schools’ potential move. This comes as UCLA, USC, and CU have already committed to leaving the Pac-12, and rumors suggest that the Big Ten is considering expansion with Oregon, Washington, Stanford, and Cal.
To entice schools to join the Big 12, the conference’s commissioner has presented proposed TV rights contracts that focus on streaming with Apple and subscription-based tiers. However, it remains uncertain if the financial benefits will be enough since the current Big 12 media rights deal pays $31.7 million per school, a sum that the Pac-12 is unlikely to match.
The Big 12’s interest in restructuring follows significant losses as Oklahoma and Texas recently decided to join the SEC. With the aim of replenishing their conference, the Big 12 has set its sights on Pac-12 schools for expansion.
Acknowledging the possibility of leaving the Pac-12, Arizona’s head football coach emphasizes that any decision will be made in the best interest of the university. The fate of these Arizona-based universities in the Pac-12 conference will likely begin to unfold at the upcoming virtual meeting, which is scheduled to commence at 6 p.m.
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