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Arizona and Northern Arizona reach 10-year scheduling deal

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona and Northern Arizona have agreed to a 10-year scheduling partnership across nine sports, including football and basketball.

The agreement announced Friday is designed to strengthen the in-state partnership between the schools and provide increased scheduling consistency.

“Continuing our scheduling efforts with Northern Arizona for the next decade is an exciting initiative for our athletics department, university and state,” Arizona vice president and director of athletics Dave Heeke said in a press release Friday.

“Ensuring our sport programs compete within our great state enhances the student-athlete experience, generates excitement for our fans, eases non-conference scheduling challenges and creates a stronger economic impact within our state’s footprint. I look forward to watching student-athletes compete in our state while representing these outstanding Arizona universities.”

The partnership includes men’s and women’s cross country, tennis, swimming and diving, and track and field. The women’s golf, soccer and volleyball teams also are part of the agreement.

The scheduling series will include home-and-home games whenever possible and a potential season-opening game between the men’s basketball programs at Arizona’s McKale Center each year.

“The University of Arizona department of athletics in general and, Dave Heeke in particular, have been unbelievable resources for our program as we have navigated COVID-19,” NAU vice president for intercollegiate athletics Mike Marlow said in a release. “This scheduling series is an offspring of conversations centered on the way Intercollegiate Athletics may look in our state and region for the immediate future.

“An emphasis on regionalized scheduling is certainly something that has become a priority. Our student-athletes, coaches and fans will very much look forward to competing more regularly with the Wildcats in both Tucson and at 7,000 feet in Flagstaff.”

The football programs already have games scheduled through 2027 and will add four dates between 2030 and 2036. No games are scheduled between 2027 and 2030 due to previous contractual obligations.