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Arizona will not cut sports under plan to shore up financial difficulties

FILE - People line up to get into a memorial service at McKale Memorial Center on the University of Arizona campus, Jan. 12, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz. On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, the University of Arizona unveiled an extensive financial recovery plan to address its $240 million budget shortfall. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The University of Arizona will not cut any sports as it tries to shore up financial difficulties prior to the school's move from the Pac-12 to the Big 12.

Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke posted a financial update on Thursday outlining the department's plans to make up for a revenue shortfall following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All our work to bolster the position of Arizona athletics as a premier athletics department comes at a cost,” Heeke said. “Like many premier programs across the country, we are facing financial challenges, which we have already begun to address.”

Under the plan, Arizona athletics will continue a hiring freeze that started this fall and will pause all major construction projects once a new golf center is completed. The department also is paring back budgets in areas that do not impact the health and wellbeing of student-athletes and seek growth in key revenue streams and areas of investment.

Arizona is one of four schools — along with Arizona State, Utah and Colorado — that are leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12 next year. It’s part of a larger disintegration of the Pac-12, which is also losing UCLA, USC, Washington and Oregon to the Big 10 and Stanford and Cal to the ACC.

Arizona’s athletic department was given a $55 million loan during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that hasn’t been paid back “fast enough,” according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The department’s struggles are part of a wider budget shortfall for the entire university.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football