Report: Arizona Wildcats’ application approved by Big 12, in deep discussions to leave Pac-12

Aug 3, 2023, 6:09 PM | Updated: Aug 4, 2023, 9:34 am

The Arizona Wildcats are reportedly in deep discussions to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big 12 ahead of Thursday’s Arizona Board of Regents meeting with the schools’ presidents, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellinger reported that Big 12 executives met Thursday to approve the application of Arizona as a 14th member of the conference, but the Wildcats are still awaiting the Board of Regents’ approval.

Thamel reported that the spotlight will quickly shift to Arizona State and Utah, with decisions coming in the next few days. The Big 12 has reportedly courted the two schools as they both have been on a separate timeline from Colorado and Arizona.

Thursday’s meeting plans to discuss legal advice regarding the future of Arizona and Arizona State athletics as Thamel reported that some finality to the rumor mill will be coming.

University of Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins maintained for months that he would wait to see a media proposal before making a decision, failing to rule out a move to another conference.

The news comes after Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff presented a proposed media and TV rights deal to school leaders on Tuesday. The primary proposal, according to Thamel, involved a streaming-focused deal with Apple with incentivized tiers based on the number of subscriptions raised.

A prior meeting the week before between Pac-12 presidents did not include any media deal updates. That stale progress led to the Colorado Buffaloes announcing they would leave for the Big 12 after the 2023-24 season, following the lead of the USC Trojans’ and UCLA Bruins’ decision last June to depart for the Big Ten.

Those losses, plus Kliavkoff’s year-plus process of searching for a finalized media deal, leave the nine remaining Pac-12 members in a precarious position.

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