The Arizona Wildcats will join the Los Angeles schools and new entrants Colorado and Utah in a Pac-12 southern division for football only, if athletic director voting disclosed by USC AD Pat Haden holds up.
School presidents and chancellors are scheduled to vote on expansion issues, which also include revenue-sharing proposals and football championship game sites, next Thursday in San Francisco.
"We're going for the money, sadly, that's what it is," Haden told
USC boosters on Wednesday night according to WeAreSc.com "We need a conference title game... There's no guarantee it will pass, it was only a 7 to 5 vote, certainly not unanimous. The alignment that got seven votes was one that puts USC/UCLA, the Arizona schools and Colorado and Utah in the same division."
Haden's comments are believed to be the first public statements by any of the 12 athletic directors who attended last week's meetings in the Bay Area.
All four of the California schools are believed to be against the proposal, since it would split up their decades-old rivalries. Under the division plan, each team would face the other five teams in its division annually and four or five teams in the other division.
"I told them my alumni will kill me if we don't play the Northern California schools and have the weekender every year," Haden said. "I proposed a 5-2-2 model that has us playing the five schools (UCLA, Arizona schools and Colorado and Utah) every year and then have the Northern California schools as part of our regular two and then rotate the other two. We need to play Stanford and Cal."
Haden told the Star at last week's athletic director meetings that USC was "part of the conference and we're going to do what's best for the conference" but declined additional comment.
UA athletic director Greg Byrne said via text message this morning that he can't comment.