Salt Lake Tribune Utah beat writer Joshua Newman is reporting that a “high level Utah official” has told him that the report that Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah will be meeting with the Big 12 from this past weekend is “blatantly false.”
The source also reportedly told Newman that Utah remains committed to the remaining Pac-12 universities using the phrase “tethered together.”
High-level Utah source tells @sltrib that a report over the weekend of Utah, CU, UA, ASU meeting w/Big 12 today is "blatantly false"
Furthermore, Utah remains in strong alignment with Pac-12 leadership, league insitutions.
"Tethered together" used to describe the suitauton
— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) July 5, 2022
The report from Newman comes on the heels of a report from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd that the Big 12 is in “deep discussions” to add up to six Pac-12 teams with Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah being mentioned specifically by the report.
It’s worth noting that Dodd’s article did not mention the supposed meeting between the Big 12 and those four schools. That meeting was reported by Jason Scheer of 247Sports’ Wildcat Authority, which is their Arizona focused website. That report is the one that Newman’s source specifically denies.
With conference realignment in full swing, there’s no telling where things go from here. The SEC (Texas, Oklahoma) and Big 10 (USC, UCLA) have already made the biggest moves that any of the conferences can make outside of a certain Catholic school, Notre Dame.
It’s been reported that Oregon and Washington want to follow USC and UCLA to the Big 10, but the conference is waiting on Notre Dame, whose interest in joining a conference is being doubted despite the financial opportunities it would bring in.
ACC schools Clemson, Florida State and Miami are the three biggest football programs to remain outside of the Big 10 or SEC, but the grant of rights deal for the ACC runs through the 2035-36 athletic season making any movement out of that conference extremely expensive and perhaps unrealistic.
If Oregon and Washington aren’t invited to the Big 10, then they could end up in the Big 12 according to Dodd’s report. However it’s still relatively early in the realignment process that so much is unknown.
It’s really unclear which, if any, of the remaining three power five conferences will become that third power conference in the next era of college athletics, or which of the three even has the best chance to do so.
The Big 12 has already expanded to mitigate the loss of Oklahoma and Texas, but those two schools figure to take half the revenue the conference generates with them.
The ACC, the only conference of the three to not be pilfered, may struggle to add a team with a grant of rights deal locking in any new addition for the next decade-plus while the Pac-12 announced today that they are starting negotiations for their new media rights deal, perhaps signifying that they plan to stay together.
And then there’s the American Athletic and Mountain West which, while certainly not power-five conferences, stand above the other three group-of-five conferences and could lose programs or look to add some of their own.
The Pac-12 could look to add some combination of Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State or San Diego State while the ACC or Big 12 could realistically look more at the American Athletic which has ECU, USF and Memphis that may be appealing. Quantity could be viewed as the answer to the quality additions by the Big 10 and SEC.
And who can honestly say that the Mountain West doesn’t have a reasonable argument to steal programs from the Pac-12?
The overall point of all of this is that so much is unknown right now. Anything can happen, and any “report” doesn’t mean gospel until it actually does happen. Even the major moves that started this realignment, the SEC additions of Texas/Oklahoma and Big 10 additions of USC/UCLA, seemingly came out of absolute nowhere.
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