Oct. 21, 2010
The Pac-12 Conference took major steps to transform itself into a dynamic new enterprise by forming two football divisions that maintain traditional rivalries, creating the first-ever Pac-12 football championship game, establishing schedule models for all other sports and agreeing to move to an equal revenue sharing plan for the first time in conference history, it was announced today.
"Our key objective was to transform the Pac-10 to a modern 12-team conference that has long term strength, increased value, competitive balance and is fan friendly and we have done that with these monumental decisions today," Commissioner Larry Scott said. "By unanimously adopting a plan for equal revenue sharing we have created a conference with a strong foundation for long term success. It's an exciting day for the Pac-12 and all of our fans."
The Chancellors and Presidents of the 12 member institutions voted to create a new North-South division structure for football that allows for traditional rivalry games, delivers a football championship game to the home field of the top team in the conference standings and is easy for fans to follow.
Utah was placed in the South division with Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA and USC. The North division contains California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Washington State. Each school will play five divisional games and four cross-divisional games every year. To preserve historic rivalries, the new scheduling format locks in annual inter-divisional games between the Northern and Southern California teams that date back to the 1930s.
"Not only did we achieve a competitive balance in our divisions, but we were also able to preserve our traditional rivalries as cornerstones of our conference," Scott said. "These great annual battles have produced some of the most memorable moments in sports history. It was imperative that we kept them intact."
"There was a tremendous spirit of cooperation and compromise throughout the league during this entire process," agreed Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill. "We will play nine of the 11 schools every year in football, which gives us the opportunity to play everyone on a regular basis. A lot of thought also went into revenue sharing and the model selected gives the league a strong foundation for long-term success. Finalizing the scheduling format for all of the other sports was another big positive and one we think will benefit our teams, student-athletes and fans."
The inaugural Pac-12 Championship game will be played in December 2011 at the home stadium of the team with the best overall conference record. Football is the only sport that will utilize a divisional model. In men's and women's basketball, the teams will play an 18-game conference schedule that will include home and home games with traditional rivals, six rotating home and homes and single play games against the remaining four teams in the conference.
Utah and Colorado will begin competing in the Pac-12 in 2011-12. The University of Utah formally accepted an invitation to join the conference as its 12th member on June 17, 2010--a week after Colorado made its announcement. In doing so, Utah and Colorado became the conference's newest members since 1978.