Pac-10 realignment: Arizona part of new Pac-12 Southby Anthony Gimino on Oct. 21, 2010, under Sports
Arizona will be part of the new Pac-12 South in football, starting next season, league commissioner Larry Scott announced today.
The Wildcats will join Arizona State, USC, UCLA and newcomers Utah and Colorado in the South. The Pac-10 North will be Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.
No other sport will have divisions.
Scott said the division split breaks down nicely between geography, market size and historical competitive balance. Teams will play each opponent in its division every year, as well as four cross-divisional games.
Some traditional rivalries have been secured, Scott said, with the Northern California schools guaranteed to play the Southern California schools each year. That certainly helped sell Stanford and Cal on the idea of being split from its California brothers.
“There was a deep appreciation in this conference of the historic rivalries,” Scott said. “That was something our board was very keen to preserve.”
Scott said the league is about 30 to 45 days away from putting together the specific football schedule for next season.
Scott said the conference championship game in football will be held at the home site of the No. 1 overall seed. That would be determined by best conference record among the division champs, with head-to-head result, if applicable, serving as the first tiebreaker.
The men’s and women’s basketball schedules will continue to feature 18 conference games.
Instead of a full home-and-home round-robin, however, teams will play home-and-away against their traditional rival (so, Arizona and Arizona State will still play twice a year), and then will play, on a yearly rotating basis, six other home-and-home series and four single games.
So, for example, Arizona will play UCLA twice in a season in six out of every 10 years. Scott added that the intent is for all 12 teams to participate in the league’s postseason basketball tournament.
Scott said the league is content to be at 12 schools for now, and the league will be further exploring a Pac-12 television network.
One of the major decisions by the Pac-12 schools is to move to equal revenue sharing of media rights, starting in the 2012-13 school year. The league has used an appearance-based model that tilted more of the money toward those on TV the most.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, here is the breakdown from the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons in league revenue from football bowl appearances (split equally), the NCAA basketball tournament (split equally) and the TV money (not split equally):
Oregon State: $17,167,040
Arizona State: $16,656,606
Washington State: $14,356,743
Between being aligned with the Southern California schools in the South, and the move to equal revenue sharing, this looks like a win-win for Arizona.
Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne met with the local media Thursday afternoon, saying these decisions were good for Arizona and good for the league. KOLD-TV (Channel 13) has a video of the Byrne interview on its site.