SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah may soon be switching a “Pac” for a “Big” to place in front of the No. 12 as the conference merry-go-round spins faster and faster Friday.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Friday that Utah has formally applied for membership into the Big 12 Conference, and that a call is scheduled for later this evening among conference leadership to discuss the move. Arizona State also applied for admission, according to Thamel.
The reports comes after Thamel said conversations between Utah and the Big 12 Conference had “ramped up” following several moves that are leaving the Pac-12 Conference a shell of itself. That coincided with a report from Brett McMurphy, a longtime college football insider with Action Network, who said Utah was “showing interest” in the Big 12.
Earlier Friday, several sources claimed Oregon and Washington were set to officially receive invitations to join the Big Ten Conference later in the day.
The news of the impending departures of the two Pac-12 powerhouses, along with Utah’s interest in making a move, comes just hours after ESPN reported that Arizona had already applied to and been admitted to the Big 12. However, ESPN cautioned that an Arizona departure had yet to be finalized.
With Colorado ditching the Pac-12 and accepting a Big 12 invite last week, the conference could grow to as many as 16 schools whenever Arizona, Utah and Arizona State make a jump. Meanwhile, the defections, along with also losing USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, would leave the Pac-12 with just 4 teams: Stanford, Cal, Washington State and Oregon State.
In a surprising turn of events, if Utah is indeed Big 12 bound, it would set up an unexpected reunion with arch rival BYU who became a conference member earlier this year.
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