Statement from Christian Gardner, Chair University of Utah Board of Trustees
I am grateful for the leadership shown by President Taylor Randall and Athletics Director Mark Harlan during this dynamic period in the history of collegiate athletics and the University of Utah. The executive committee of the university’s Board of Trustees has been kept apprised of discussions and various scenarios throughout the process of determining the best course of action for the university, and we are in agreement that it is in the best interests of our student athletes, fans and the greater university community to join the Big 12 Conference.
I particularly appreciate the extraordinary effort by President Randall and Director Harlan over the past month to represent the best interests of the University of Utah and the Pac-12 in these discussions. The Pac-12 has a storied history and the University of Utah is proud to have been welcomed and accepted as a peer in the league over the past 12 years.
Moving forward, the University of Utah has the full support of its Board of Trustees in bringing that same energy and enthusiasm as a proud member of the Big 12 Conference. We look forward to getting to know our peers and competing at the highest levels in what has become one of the country’s premier athletics conferences.
Statement from Taylor Randall, President
I am pleased to announce that the University of Utah will join the Big 12 Conference at the beginning of the 2024-25 athletics season.
I am grateful for all of the hard work my Pac-12 Conference colleagues invested in an effort to find solutions to keep the conference whole and provide a pathway forward to benefit all of our students, fans and communities. Ultimately, stronger forces within national collegiate athletics and the greater media landscape brought us to today’s decision. I am hopeful the relationships we have made over the past 12 years within the Pac-12 remain strong.
To our students, student-athletes, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, donors, community leaders, fans and entire state, thank you for your support and patience as we’ve navigated the complexity, frustration, and significance of conference realignment.
I am very enthusiastic about the University of Utah’s future within the Big 12. 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.
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, our move to the Big 12 will not change that position. 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. We are making this change because it helps us on our path to become a top 10 public university with unsurpassed societal impact.
As an alum and a passionate fan of the U, I remain committed to our student-athletes, our coaches, and athletics staff to provide them opportunities to be successful and to drive our national reputation. This move will allow us to continue along an upwards trajectory.
I want to thank the Big 12 Conference and Commissioner Brett Yormark for the invitation to join and I look forward to our future partnership.
Statement from Mark Harlan, Athletics Director
President Randall and I, along with the executive committee of the Board of Trustees, have been fully engaged in pursuing the best possible path for the University of Utah and our athletics programs to excel. After very thorough and comprehensive efforts to preserve our present conference affiliation in the aftermath of the announced departures of UCLA and USC last year, we have explored all options and have determined that the right path for Utah to continue to build on its tremendous growth trajectory is to accept an invitation to join the Big 12 Conference.
We are appreciative of Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark, his leadership team and the conference membership for extending this invitation. The enormous weight of a move of this magnitude is not lost on any of us. We have great appreciation for our partnership with our fellow Pac-12 Conference members, and the relationships we share that transcend competition.
This decision represents the best interests of the University of Utah, our student-athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and our tremendous fans, and we look forward to continuing our growth as a member of the Big 12 Conference beginning next year.