The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

51° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona to officially join the Big-12 by start of 2024-25 season

Along with Arizona State and Utah, the Wildcats part ways with the Pac-12 Conference
Outside of the McKale Center.
Maverick Arnold
The ticket office on the south side of McKale Center

After months of rumors swirling regarding NCAA conference realignment, the University of Arizona has found a new home: the Big-12 Conference. The change doesn’t go into effect until the start of the 2024-25 academic year, but the preparations begin now for a big transition for Arizona Athletics.

The motivations behind the move were largely financial. The Pac-12 currently holds a media deal with Apple that reportedly pays each member institution around $20 million annually with tiers of incentives for the teams to reach. However, the Big-12 would be able to pay each school a starting rate of around $32 million annually through their media deals with both Fox and ESPN.

The status of the Pac-12 has been up in the air over the last year, with UCLA and USC announcing intentions to join the Big Ten Conference back in June of 2022. Though the change wasn’t immediate, the two Southern California-based schools will join their new conference in the 2024-25 season

As of Friday, August 4, the grim future of the Pac-12 was made more apparent when five of the remaining nine schools announced intentions for realignment. This leaves just four members of the conference with intentions to remain past July of 2024.

UCLA and USC will be joined by the University of Oregon and the University of Washington in the Big Ten. The Big-12 has added four new members from the Pac-12 in less than a nine-day timeframe. The first domino to fall was the University of Colorado Boulder, whose board of regents approved the move on Thursday, July 27

On Friday, August 4, Arizona, ASU and the University of Utah were all approved to join the Big-12 for the start of the 2024 season. The Big-12 has long been looking to expand and the word was that they had Arizona, ASU, Colorado and Utah as their top choices. Even with four new members, the lucrative media deal will still allow for a larger yearly payout than even the highest level of earnings in the Pac-12.

Arizona and ASU fans will still get to witness the Duel in the Desert and pass the Territorial Cup along to each year’s respective winner while still maintaining the familiarity of facing off against Colorado and Utah. The Big-12 has produced successful teams in an array of sports in recent years, which will allow Arizona student-athletes to hone their skills against an even higher level of competition.

The Pac-12 shakeup that occurred has turned the Power Five into a thing of the past and morphed more into a “Power Four” situation. The Southeastern Conference poses to have 16 teams following the additions of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, and the Big-12 is set to also have 16 teams with their new additions. The Big Ten will expand to a whopping 18 teams with their four new additions. The only Power Five conference to see no reshuffling (as of now) is the Atlantic Coast Conference, which will remain at 14 teams for the 2024-25 season.

The four remaining institutions that plan to remain in the Pac-12 following the conclusion of the next academic year are Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, Oregon State University and Washington State University. While what the future holds for those schools is unsure, the “Four Corner” schools are on an upward trajectory with a shiny new conference to boot.

Follow Mason Duhon on Twitter


More to Discover