Utah, Arizona and Arizona State to join BYU in Big 12
The Big 12 continues to assert itself as one of the main winners of the nationwide conference realignment chaos.
Amid the Pac-12’s crumbling into an early grave, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State have been granted admission into the Big 12 prior to the 2024 football season, joining fellow ex-Pac-12 program Colorado, which made the same move less than two weeks ago.
“We are excited to now welcome Arizona, Arizona State and Utah to the Big 12, in addition to Colorado,” BYU President Shane Reese said. “Having 16 member institutions will be a great strength to the conference moving forward.”
With the addition of Utah, the “Holy War” rivalry between the Utes and BYU immediately becomes the Big 12’s premier feud, reestablishing a classic, historic series on a grand Power 5 stage while a number of other notable rivalries continue to end as casualties of realignment.
The Pac-12 had been in crisis mode since June of 2022 when USC and UCLA announced their intention to join the Big Ten. League commissioner George Kliavkoff then spent 13 months attempting to piece together an adequate media rights deal for the conference past 2024, only to fall short and leave his schools frustrated and underwhelmed.
The Pac-12’s best option was a streaming deal with Apple which would pay each school $23 million annually — an embarrassing amount compared to the Big Ten’s projected $80-100 million eventual payout — ultimately serving as the last straw for the majority of the league, as Oregon and Washington fled to the Big Ten and Utah, Arizona and Arizona State landed in the Big 12.
The three former Pac-12 schools were voted into the Big 12 unanimously this past Friday evening.
“I’m grateful to Big 12 leadership for seeing this through,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. “The conference keeps getting stronger, and we are thankful to add more Big 12 rivals in closer proximity.”
The Big 12 signed a six-year, $2.28 billion media rights deal with ESPN and Fox this past August, cementing the league’s “power conference” status and putting it in position for its current Pac-12 purge. BYU was officially admitted into the conference on July 1 and will earn 50% revenue for its first two years of membership before upgrading to a full revenue share prior to the 2025 season.