Utah AD has strong response to Big 12 report
Utah athletic director Mark Harlan had a strong response to speculation that his school was exploring options outside of the Pac-12.
On Thursday, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported that Utah was among four Pac-12 schools having regular conversations with the Big 12 about a potential conference switch. Dodd said the other Pac-12 “Four Corners” schools of Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado were also discussing possible moves with the Big 12.
This report caught the attention of Harlan, who curtly responded to the report by saying “give me a break.”
Give me a break https://t.co/R3FM73ud1k
— Mark Harlan (@MarkHarlan_AD) March 10, 2023
Despite Harlan’s denial, there is a lot of logic behind the report. The Big Ten has already raided the Pac-12 to add UCLA and USC, and it is widely believed that other Pac-12 schools may also be in their sights. If enough teams leave, continued membership in a gutted Pac-12 will make no sense for schools like Utah.
Last summer, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark openly talked about bringing in schools from the Pac-12, prompting a public rebuke. Even if Utah is not having regular talks about a Big 12 move now, it would be incredibly hard to believe that there were never at least some exploratory talks.