ASU, Arizona and Utah will move to Big 12 Conference

Exterior of Desert Financial Arena in Tempe

Editor’s note: This story is featured in the 2023 year in review.

Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and the University of Utah will join the Big 12 Conference in 2024, positioning the universities and their student-athletes for increased stability and success.

“We are excited for this new chapter, a move that is necessary to remain competitive in top-tier Division I athletics,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “We are joining a premier athletic conference and bringing with us programs on the rise, our rich traditions and history, and the metro Phoenix media market. We’re in a good spot, and we are pleased to be with UArizona and Utah in the move.”

Aligning with UArizona and Utah was a key factor for ASU leadership. The moves will help create a strong Arizona-Utah-Texas portion of the conference that will extend current rivalries, create new ones and offer regional travel for student-athletes.

The Big 12 Conference voted Friday to accept the schools as full members, effective Aug. 2, 2024.  

“The financial package is strong. The stability of the Big 12 is strong. We are ready, and the timing is right,” said Ray Anderson, vice president for university athletics at ASU. “The exposure and visibility as well as the resources from the conference will help us compete for championships. From enhancing our ability to recruit Texas for football to the Big 12’s strength in basketball, good days are ahead.”

ASU football is on the rise after the hiring of Head Coach Kenny Dillingham, from recent recruiting success to more than 90% of season tickets renewed before the new season begins.

ASU this week also announced a multi-year naming-rights partnership with Mountain America Credit Union to form one of the most dynamic naming rights deals in college athletics. The 15-year partnership with Sun Devil Athletics includes ASU’s football stadium, which will now be called Mountain America Stadium, Home of the ASU Sun Devils. 

“One of our biggest considerations in this whole process was the welfare of our student-athletes, and the Big 12 Conference is among the best for its programs and services,” Anderson said. “The conference also offers high-quality Olympic sports and an opportunity to compete with some of the finest student-athletes in some of the finest athletic facilities in the country.”

ASU has a proud history in the Pac-12 Conference, joining the conference in July 1978 along with UArizona to make the then-Pacific-10 Conference a reality. ASU twice played in the Rose Bowl and won 66 conference titles across 11 different sports.

ASU, one of the largest public universities in the country, has more than 140,000 combined students studying either on campus or via digital immersion. The university is committed to both egalitarian access and academic excellence. An R1 university, ASU recently joined the prestigious Association of American Universities, which comprises the nation’s elite research universities recognized for their academic and research strength.

“We will always have fond memories of the Pac-12 Conference, and this move will not change our appreciation of more than 40 years of experiences, rivalries, partnerships and traditions,” Crow said. “But now, it is the right time for change.”

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