Salt Lake City Utah is poised to become the 12th member of the Pac-10 as the conference quickly pivoted Wednesday to invite the Utes after being turned down by Texas and four other members of the Big 12 two days ago.
Utah officials did not immediately say whether the invitation would be accepted, but it would be shocking if the Utes didn’t leave the Mountain West Conference for the Pac-10.
Spokeswoman Liz Abel said the athletics department would not comment until today, after the school’s board of trustees meets to discuss the school’s conference affiliation. A news conference was scheduled at the football stadium following the meeting.
Pac-10 officials are expected to attend today’s news conference in Utah.
Utah has been a member of the MWC since the league began in 1999 — and one of its most successful in football and basketball.
There had been speculation on Tuesday that Utah would be the next school to be approached by the Pac-10. When asked about the possibility, school president Michael Young told the Associated Press “we wouldn’t anticipate making a move of this magnitude without the concurrence of our board of trustees.”
A message left with Randy Dryer, chairman of the board of trustees, was not immediately returned Wednesday. If Utah bolts the Mountain West, it would be the latest in a string of conference affiliation changes.
Last week, Colorado decided to leave the Big 12 and accept an invitation to join the Pac-10. Nebraska has also said it will leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten, while Boise State is fleeing the Western Athletic Conference to join the Mountain West.
Earlier in the week, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State recommitted to the Big 12 instead of hopping to the Pac-10.
That left the Pac-10 in need of another member to reach the 12 required to hold a football championship game. Pac-10 spokeswoman Danette Leighton declined to say when Utah would begin competing in the Pac-10 if it accepts the conference’s invitation.