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Report: Utah to join Big 12 along with Arizona schools

The Big 12 has now absorbed all of the Pac-12’s “four corner” schools.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 02 Pac-12 Championship - Utah vs USC Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The University of Utah will join the Big 12 Conference, per Pete Thamel. The school now becomes the fourth and final “four corners” institution to depart the Pac-12 for the Big 12, joining Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State on the list of defectors. The move now brings the Big 12’s future membership up to 16 and the Pac-12’s membership down to just four with the news of Oregon and Washington leaving for the Big Ten.

Since securing a new media rights deal with ESPN and Fox last October, the Big 12 has been in a favorable position for further expansion and several reports suggested them targeting Pac-12 institutions. The “four corner” schools of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah were among the top targets for potential expansion and speculation only increased as the Pac-12’s own media rights negotiations dragged out. Colorado delivered the first blow to the league with its departure and both Arizona schools followed suit shortly afterwards. Utah was reportedly hesitant to jump at first, but did a 180 shortly after Colorado’s move. Now joining the Big 12 with the other three Pac-12 defectors, they will share a league with arch rival BYU for the first time since 2010 when they were members of the Mountain West Conference.

Utah’s move now puts the Pac-12 on virtual life support with now over half of its membership leaving within the past year. This fatal blow has left just Cal, Oregon State, Stanford, and Washington State as the remaining members of the league.