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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ABOR meets with Big-12 commissioner

The Big-12’s implications on UA finances
The+Arizona+football+team+runs+onto+the+field+at+Arizona+Stadium+with+fireworks+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+18.+No.+19+Arizona+beat+the+No.+16+University+of+Utah+42-18.%0A
Kohichiro Yamada
The Arizona football team runs onto the field at Arizona Stadium with fireworks on Saturday, Nov. 18. No. 19 Arizona beat the No. 16 University of Utah 42-18.

Coming into this year, the University of Arizona was already neck deep in its ongoing financial crisis. With limited money on hand and dealing with the ever-changing nature of college sports, the UA announced it was moving to the Big-12 Conference following the conclusion of the 2023-2024 sports season. 

This move was one that would be a start of a massive string of dominoes for Arizona, with success finding its way to the Wildcats’ football team, Arizona losing their football coach and the firing of former athletic director, Dave Heeke. This has been a year of embracing change for Wildcat fans and the current focus has been spearheaded by current athletic director, Desireé Reed-Francois. Reed-Francois was brought in to try and bring the athletic side of the crisis to a calm.

The Arizona Board of Regents held a meeting on June 6 to discuss the future of ASU and the UA in the Big-12. Among those in attendance at the meeting was current Big-12 commissioner Brett Yormark to talk about the future in the conference. 

During the meeting, Yormark highlighted different aspects of the Big-12’s future, but most importantly spoke about the financial future he hopes to see implemented. With this focus, there is a great financial opportunity for the UA as it enters the conference coming off of its financial crisis.

Yormark discussed his plans for the next fiscal year for the programs at the UA and ASU, emphasizing bringing more eyes to the conference with both the increased pedigree within the football and basketball programs. The one issue that has come up with conference realignment is the conglomeration of the top teams into the two biggest conferences of the Big-10 and the SouthEastern Conference. Yormark said he understands that this brings an issue towards viewership and revenue. This is why he drove such a focus into all spheres of athletics from basketball and football to other Olympic sports.

Yormark continued to talk about revenue and expense management, both extremely important for Arizona. The expense management focus is essential because of the recent crisis and mismanagement of funds in the athletic program. With $55 million in loans given to UA athletics during COVID that has yet to be paid off a focus on expenses and revenue balance is extremely critical for the UA to get out of one facet of their overall debt.

Yormark ended his section highlighting futures in both the media growth and platform, as well as the future of student-athletes. He talked about bringing more focus and viewership to not just mainstream sports, but rather all Olympic sports. 

However, the critical piece towards future income at the UA was the desire to strategize games and events to improve the brand identity of the school and allow them greater visibility in more markets. This allows the UA to receive more viewership of its games and thus more revenue. The final focus of student-athletes’ wants is to bring greater aid to these players from mental and physical health standpoints, but also allow these students to be able to voice their issues through a direct Big-12 student group.


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