On Friday, the modern-day structure of Power 5 college sports disintegrated.
Late in the evening, the University of Arizona, Arizona State, and the University of Utah announced they will join the Big 12 in 2024. The schools will join Colorado, which announced last week that it would defect to the Big 12 in 2024.
The Big 12 said in a statement that it was “thrilled” to welcome the three new members.
With the Friday afternoon defection of Oregon and Washington to the Big Ten, the Pac-12 is now officially dead.
“Today’s news is incredibly disappointing for student-athletes, fans, alumni, and staff of the Pac-12 who cherish the over 100-year history, tradition and rivalries of the Conference of Champions,” the Pac-12 said in a statement. “We remain focused on securing the best possible future for each of our member universities.”
The four remaining Pac-12 schools will have to either join existing conferences or find conferences of their own.
The main reason for the schools to leave the Pac-12 was a botched media rights deal. After 13 months, Commissioner George Kliavkoff couldn’t deliver a palatable media package to schools.
Earlier in the week, Kliavkoff reportedly presented a deal mostly with Apple. But a source previously told Front Office Sports that the deal likely wouldn’t satisfy distribution priorities. Clearly, it didn’t offer enough money to keep the schools together either.
The Big 12, meanwhile, has made a remarkable comeback since it was on the chopping block after losing Texas and Oklahoma in 2021. The conference has added four schools in less than 10 days.