Big 12 furthers expansion by adding Arizona, Arizona State and Utah from crumbling Pac-12

In the latest development in what has been one of the most transformative weeks in the history of college sports, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah are leaving the Pac-12 to become the newest members of the Big 12 and will join the conference in 2024, the Big 12 announced Friday night.

“We are thrilled to welcome Arizona, Arizona State and Utah to the Big 12,” commissioner Brett Yormark said in a statement. “The conference is gaining three premier institutions both academically and athletically, and the entire Big 12 looks forward to working alongside their presidents, athletic directors, student-athletes and administrators.”

With six current members set to leave for the Big 12 and Big Ten, the Pac-12 is suddenly on the verge of extinction. The Wildcats, Sun Devils and Utes are following Colorado to the Big 12. The Buffaloes decided to rejoin the conference last week and Washington and Oregon announced their moves to the Big Ten earlier Friday evening.

The Pac-12 has existed in some form since 1915, when it was formed as the Pacific Coast Conference. The league became known as the Pac-8 in 1968 and then the Pac-10 in 1978 with the addition of the two Arizona schools. Utah and Colorado followed in 2011, amid the most recent round of major Football Bowl Subdivision realignment.

But there is no road for survivability as an FBS conference with just four schools set to remain in the league past this season. With the losses this summer joining the announced exits of UCLA and Southern California for the Big Ten next year, the Pac-12 is now composed of California, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington State.

"Today's news is incredibly disappointing for student-athletes, fans, alumni and staff of the Pac-12 who cherish the over 100-year history, traditions and rivalries of the Conference of Champions," the Pac-12 said in an uncredited statement. "We remain focused on securing the best possible future for each of our member universities."

Given the uncertainty over the league's immediate future and ability to garner a meaningful rights deal from broadcast partners, it's very likely that other Pac-12 members evaluate additional realignment options.

Adding the three Pac-12 schools brings the Big 12, currently at 14 teams, to a group of 16 teams after next summer's departures of Oklahoma and Texas for the SEC.

In contrast to the Pac-12, the Big 12 has emerged from the past year-plus of realignment having replaced those national brands with a deeper and more geographically diverse roster.

Arizona, ASU and Utah come after the additions of Brigham Young, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston, which joined the Big 12 earlier this summer.

Previously members of the Border Conference and the Western Athletic Conference, Arizona and Arizona State joined the Pac-12 in 1978.

A national basketball powerhouse, the Wildcats were consistent winners in football throughout the 1980s and 1990s, reaching a final ranking as high as No. 4 in 1998. But the program has struggled recently, with just one winning season since 2016. The Sun Devils haven't had near the success as their rival in men's basketball. Success in football has come in fleeting moments with a Rose Bowl appearance in the 1997 season and four bowl appearances in the last four seasons.

Utah, after years in the Western Athletic and Mountain West, entered the Pac-12 in 2011 and has been one of the league's best and most consistent football programs, including winning the past two conference championships. They'll rejoin in-state rival BYU, which left the Mountain West in 2010 and played football as an independent from then until this summer.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Arizona, Arizona State, Utah jumping from Pac-12 to Big 12