Arizona President Seems To Contradict Himself In Realignment Presser

Arizona president Robert Robbins at a Wildcats sporting event.

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Arizona will soon make its way to the Big XII alongside fellow PAC 12 comrades Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah. The ‘four corners’ schools will make the transition in 2024, making this year their last in the Conference of Champions.

University president Robert Robbins was heard speaking on the upcoming move, and the details that went on behind the scenes. He seemed to contradict himself when talking about the negotiation process.

As has been widely reported over the last few weeks, the PAC 12 exodus is linked directly to its media rights deal. The league has been unable to secure a future agreement with a television partner as they swing and miss with major networks.

While other conferences around the country lock in lucrative contracts, those on the West Coast continue to see uncertainty.

The latest reports linked the league to streaming service Apple, which likely wouldn’t have been able to provide the revenue or exposure seen in other Power Five conferences. Growing frustrated with the direction of negotiations, members opted to weigh their options.

Decisions were made to leave the league as six schools announced intentions to find new homes. This, coming after USC and UCLA’s departure last offseason.

Arizona president Robert Robbins spoke on his university’s decision Monday.

Again, his reasoning came down to the potential partnership with Apple, which he compared to “selling candy bars for Little League.”

He later contradicted himself by saying the Wildcats planned to stick together with the rest of the PAC 12 before either Oregon or Washington told them they were headed to the Big Ten.

That seems hard to believe considering reports hinted that Arizona’s talks with the Big XII began far prior to that final meeting with that final PAC 12 meeting.

To think that all nine members were ready to sign the grant of rights agreement only to have the deal blown up by the actions of one team seems farfetched, especially considering Robbins’ degradation of the media rights deal.

College football fans aren’t buying it.

Many believe he was attempting to pass blame even though the Wildcats were one of the first schools linked to realignment following Colorado’s departure.

Arizona president notes that his desire to merge the PAC 12/Big XII dates back to 2021.

During that press conference, Robbins expressed his past desire to merge the two leagues. He reminded listeners that he brought the idea up following Texas and Oklahoma’s decision to leave the Big XII for the SEC.

Had that happened, it would be the Big XII that might be crumbling as opposed to the PAC 12. It also would’ve made the Conference of Champions the first true mega-conference with 20 members.

That, of course, didn’t happen which has led to the apparent demise of the storied PAC 12. It will be interesting to see if it responds with expansion of its own or if the remaining four teams are plucked by outside leagues.