Report: Big 12 accepts Arizona's application to join conference, now waiting for Board of Regents approval

On3 imageby:Griffin McVeigh08/03/23

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Conference Realignment Thoughts with JD

Just as Colorado did not too long ago, a Pac-12 member is close to leaving in favor of the Big 12. We are reportedly one step away from Arizona joining the Big 12, with the conference reportedly voting on the matter on Thursday.

According to Yahoo’s Ross Dellenger, the Big 12 has approved the application of Arizona, nearly making them the conference’s 14th member. Now, the next and final step is the Wildcats getting approval from the Board of Regents.

“Big 12 executives met Thursday to approve the application of Arizona as a 14th member, sources tell @YahooSports, paving the way for the Wildcats to enter the conference,” Dellenger said. “It is another step in UA’s path to join. The final step would be approval from its Board of Regents.”

Arizona has been a long-time member of the Pac-10/Pac-12, going back to 1978. However, the Wildcats are not a founding member and were part of the conference’s expansion. They joined at the same time as in-state rival, Arizona State.

In a matchup called the Duel in the Desert, Arizona and Arizona State have been conference mates throughout history. But at the time of writing, the Sun Devils do not have anything going with the Big 12. Dellenger reports while they are still considered an option, alongside Utah, neither program has moved as quickly as Arizona.

“Decisions from Big 12 expansion targets Arizona State and Utah have not progressed as quickly as Arizona, but they remain viable options for the league and a conclusion is expected in a matter of days, sources tell @YahooSports.”

Arizona close to joining new-look Big 12

If/when the deal goes through for Arizona, they will be joining a new-look Big 12. No official date has been speculated but based on how swiftly Colorado got out of the Pac-12, you would have to assume the 2024 season will be the Wildcats’ debut.

The Big 12 is already welcoming four new members in 2023 in BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. Colorado will make it 13 members once Texas/Oklahoma leaves. Arizona only adds to the tally and potentially puts the conference at the number they want.

However, adding two more Pac-12 schools is something Commissioner Brett Yormark will not shy away from. He has acted swiftly throughout this entire process and wants to make sure the Big 12’s future is bright. Making this Thursday night move with the Wildcats is just the latest example of his aggressiveness.