Report: Arizona president could consider ASU, Utah futures in Pac-12 decision

Aug 1, 2023, 9:16 AM | Updated: 11:25 am

University of Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins...

University of Arizona president Robert C. Robbins watches the action between the Arizona Wildcats and the USC Trojans at Arizona Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona. The Trojans beat the Wildcats 45-37. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

While the Arizona Wildcats remain at the forefront of a potential Pac-12 breakup with commissioner George Kliavkoff presenting a proposed media deal to school leaders Tuesday, a report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel indicates that University of Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins could consider his league rivals when making a decision.

Kliavkoff’s presentation Tuesday morning ended without any vote to accept or reject a deal, according to Yahoo!’s Ross DellengerJohn Canzano and The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy. Another meeting is planned after the commissioner presented media options.

While Arizona reportedly has been most active in talks with the Big 12 regarding a potential departure following Colorado’s decision to leave, Thamel added Tuesday morning that the stances by Arizona State and Utah could sway Robbins.

“He knows the gravity,” said a person familiar with Robbins’ thinking. “He does not want to be the one to break apart the Pac-12.”

That’s why sources say Arizona, Arizona State and Utah — the Pac-12’s remaining three of the so-called Four Corner schools — are expected to lump their futures together.

As another industry source pointed out: “I don’t see any of them having the fortitude to break up the Pac-12 themselves. They’ll break as three. It’s either going to be all three leave, or none leave.”

League members met last week around the announcement from the Colorado Buffaloes that they would depart for the Big 12 after this coming academic year. They will meet Tuesday and for the first time see a media and TV rights contract proposal that Kliavkov can hope eases their anxieties about remaining in the changing conference.

Only nine committed members of the conference remain with UCLA and USC also leaving the Pac-12 after the season. Arizona, Arizona State and Utah are considered the top targets for the Big 12.

According to multiple reports, the Big 12 could add one or three more schools to even out its conference for 2024-25 after pending departures of Texas and Oklahoma. Poaching more Pac-12 schools is on the table, as is an East Coast addition of the UConn Huskies.

247 Sports’ Brandon Marcello reported last week that the Wildcats appeared most likely on the edge of considering a move, while ASU and Utah have shown signs of more commitment to the Pac-12.

Together with Thamel’s report, they represent the push and pull. Robbins wants the best for his university but does not want to act rashly with other schools set to feel the impact of any decision he makes.

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