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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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University of Utah Sheds Pac-12 for Big 12

The U joins USC, Colorado, Arizona and more in leaving the Pac-12 this year.
Xiangyao Tang
The Utah Red Rocks lift the trophy after winning the Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championship title at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


It’s official: the University of Utah is leaving the Pac-12.

The move is the latest in a series of conference reshufflings. Tensions hit the Pac-12 last summer when UCLA and USC announced they would leave the conference in 2024.

Utah is joined in today’s move by Pac-12 teams Arizona and Arizona State, with Colorado sharing they would be moving to the Big 12 earlier this week. The 2024-25 season will see massive reorganization in all conferences. The Big 12 Conference is expanding from 12 teams to 16, Texas and Oklahoma are leaving for the SEC, with six teams joining.

Big 12 Conference Commissioner Brett Yormark welcomed the schools to the conference in a statement.

“The Conference is gaining three premier institutions both academically and athletically, and the entire Big 12 looks forward to working alongside their presidents, athletic directors, student-athletes and administrators,” Yormark said.

The news that the U had applied for Big 12 membership broke this afternoon, after the University of Oregon and the University of Washington announced their decision to move to the Big Ten Conference in 2024. The U’s Board of Trustees approved the conference transfer this evening.

“Being part of the Pac-12 has elevated the University of Utah and demonstrated our student-athletes can compete at the highest levels on and off the field,” University President Taylor Randall said in a statement. “… I want to be clear that our focus and mission is to provide world-class education, research, service and patient care. Joining the Big 12 accelerates our progress in all four areas.”

The move puts Utah in the same conference as in-state rivals, the BYU Cougars, for the first time since 2011.

“Joining our Pac-12 and Association of American Universities peers from Colorado and Arizona is important to our mission and makes sense, as does, renewing our historic in-state rivalry with Brigham Young University,” said Randall.

The move gives the Utah football team a chance to be the only team with a three-peat Pac-12 Championship, a feat achieved by multiple teams when the conference was the Pac-10. With back-to-back Championships fresh under the Ute’s belt, a win this year would cement Utah as the top football team in the Pac-12.

Just two weeks ago, football head coach Kyle Whittingham shared that the then-mysterious negotiations around conference realignment were “heading in the right direction.”

The future of the Pac-12 is unclear — and not guaranteed. Only Stanford, Cal, Washington State and Oregon State remain in the conference as of Friday’s news.

One thing’s for sure: Utah sports teams are killing it, with football, ski, softball, women’s gymnastics and women’s basketball teams setting an incredible standard that the Big 12 will have to rise to meet.


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About the Contributors
Margot Reynolds, Editor-in-Chief
Margot is studying biology and medical anthropology at the U. She joined the Chronicle as a copy editor and enjoyed being the copy director before becoming the Editor-in-Chief. While she respects AP style, she finds its rejection of the Oxford comma disheartening. She is passionate about cats, cooking and collecting Korok seeds.
Sean Overton, Sports Editor
Sean Overton is the Editor of the Sports Desk. He is currently a junior and is majoring in Business Administration with plans to attend law school.
Xiangyao Tang, Photo Director
Axe is a photographer and the photo director of the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is from China and is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital photography. Axe joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition to his position at the Chrony, he is also a photo intern for University of Utah Athletics. When he's not writing code, you will find him rock climbing, camping, skiing or hiking with his camera.

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