Big 12 expansion with Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Colorado? Pac-12 AD responds to report

A Pac-12 Athletic Director took to Twitter Thursday night to respond to a report that the Big 12 was ready to “pounce” on the conference’s Four Corners schools, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado.

That AD was interestingly the Athletic Director of one of the schools mentioned in the report.

Mark Harlan, the AD at Utah tweeted: “Give me a break” in response to a story, and tweet from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd.

In the report, Dodd wrote that Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark “continues to pursue the Pac-12’s Four Corners schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah. There have been “weekly” conversations between the Big 12 and those four programs as talks have heated up, one league insider tells CBS Sports.”

More:Pac-12 expansion, realignment: Arizona State AD addresses speculation amid media deal saga

The report continued: “Big 12 sources were waiting anxiously to hear the results of a Colorado Board of Regents meeting held to discuss the program’s future in the Pac-12. The CU regents met in a special session, according to multiple reports. It may only take one of the Four Corners schools to bolt from the Pac-12 for the other three to follow, Big 12 sources say.”

Speculation has reignited around the Four Corners schools in the Pac-12 potentially leaving for the Big 12 in recent weeks amid the Pac-12’s inability to find a new media rights deal.

Harlan’s tweet seems to indicate that he isn’t high on the speculation of his school switching conferences.

Dodd’s report, however, doubled down on the possibility of the Wildcats, Sun Devils, Utes and Buffaloes leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12.

More:Big 12 expansion speculation: Arizona, Colorado ‘odds-on candidates’ to leave Pac-12 first

Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan doesn't appear to be a fan of a report linking his school, and other Pac-12 schools, to the Big 12 in college conference realignment and expansion.

Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan doesn’t appear to be a fan of a report linking his school, and other Pac-12 schools, to the Big 12 in college conference realignment and expansion.

“Three high-ranking industry sources in the last week told CBS Sports they believe Yormark is going to be successful in luring at least some combination of Four Corners schools,” Dodd wrote. “Some went farther speculating the Pac-12 was a couple of weeks away from dissolving. ‘The dam breaking, in a sense,’ one source said. As is confidence in the Pac-12 getting a new media rights deal that will keep the 10 schools together.

Dodd continued: “The irony is the Pac-12 had two chances to essentially break apart the Big 12 starting in 2010. That year, former Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott failed in his attempt to lure half of the Big 12 to his league. In 2021, when Texas and Oklahoma left, the Pac-12 chose not to go after what was left of a crumbling Big 12. Former Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby moved quickly that summer to add BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF.”

More:Pac-12 expansion, realignment: Media rights speculation includes prediction for conference

Harlan’s tweet earned some interesting reaction.

“Give you a break? It appears that’s exactly what the Big 12 is trying to do,” Heartland College Sports’ Bryan Clinton wrote. “The ‘nose in the air’ attitude that several Pac-12 university officials have exhibited through this entire media rights process has been eye-opening for folks around the rest of the country. Somehow, we’re supposed to believe the claims that everything is just fine in the Pac-12, and that there’s no possibility whatsoever that the best viable option for the remaining Pac-12 schools is to leave while they have the chance.  … Either Harlan is posturing, or his head is so far in the sand that he doesn’t see what is going on around him.”

OutKick’s David Hookstead wrote: “What we do know is someone isn’t telling the truth. Either multiple Pac-12 teams are in talks with the Big 12 or they’re not. It’s truly that simple. Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? That remains to be seen but there are simply too many dueling narratives. Harlan will definitely want to smash the delete button if the Utes do ultimately make a run for it. This tweet will certainly haunt him.”

More:Big 12 expansion, realignment speculation: Conference ‘prepared’ to add Pac-12 teams

Reach Jeremy Cluff at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Big 12 expansion into Pac-12? Utah AD Mark Harlan responds to report