ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Arizona’s Jedd Fisch to his players: ‘You guys are living through history’

Aug 5, 2023, 11:32 AM

Jedd Fisch...

Jedd Fisch attends SiriusXM At Super Bowl LVII on February 09, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Arizona Wildcats head football coach Jedd Fisch said his team focused on practice when speaking to reporters on Friday, hours before the university announced its move from the Pac-12 to the Big 12.

But he had to address the elephant in the room. This week he jumped on a Zoom call with the parents of his players to reassure them Arizona was going to be in a positive spot after the conference realignments. Arizona was reportedly admitted to the Big 12 on Thursday, and the conference made the announcement on Friday.

“I try to tell the players what I know,” Fisch said. “They’re aware that our president (Dr. Robert Robbins) is sitting in the catbird seat and gets to make some great decisions for our program and for the university.”

Arizona will end a 46-year run in the Pac-10/12 at the end of the 2023-24 academic year, jumping from the Pac-12 to the Big 12 along with Arizona State, Colorado and Utah. UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington are heading to the Big Ten.

Robbins in a statement said the move will increase visibility, extend Arizona’s reach, provide more resources to student-athletes and offer greater NIL prospects. Fisch said he appreciates Arizona being at the center of the college football and athletics world, suggesting that more people talking about the program is beneficial.

“I said, ‘You guys are literally living through history,'” Fisch said. “‘If you think about the guys who played college football from 2020-25, you lived through a pandemic and how that worked in college football, the uniqueness of playing in front of no one, you went through transfer portal rules that no one really ever thought would ever happen, the amount of exchange of players, then NIL, you started getting paid.’

“‘Now you’re sitting there looking at conferences that were historically a group of 10, 12 turning into 16-team mega conferences … It’s a change. Everything is just new. It is truly a new frontier of college football. I love the fact that we are just sitting there in a position where everything right now is going to be better for the athletes.'”

Fisch told reporters in Tucson on Tuesday that stability was key, noting it is expensive to run an athletics program.

The Big 12’s media rights deal signed in October will reportedly pay out $31.7 million per school, which the Pac-12 could not match with a reported streaming-based deal proposal with Apple.

Fisch also said his players will have new experiences on the football field with a new crop of opponents in the Big 12.

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