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Arizona, NAU announce multisport scheduling partnership; football teams have games through 2036
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Arizona, NAU announce multisport scheduling partnership; football teams have games through 2036

Wildcats and Lumberjacks men's basketball programs are eyeing an annual tipoff event at McKale

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Arizona Wildcats running back Gary Brightwell (23) makes a sprint towards the end zone for the team's first touchdown of the night during NAU Lumberjacks vs. Arizona Wildcats football at Arizona Stadium, Tucson, on Sept. 7, 2019.

The University of Arizona and NAU are extending and expanding their athletic partnership.

The schools on Friday announced a 10-year scheduling series starting in 2021-22 for all sports that are sponsored by athletic departments.

The UA and NAU football teams, which face each other regularly, added four dates between the 2030 and ’36 seasons.

The men’s basketball programs are planning an annual season-opening tipoff event at McKale Center.

“Continuing our scheduling efforts with Northern Arizona for the next decade is an exciting initiative for our athletics department, university and state,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a news release. “Ensuring our sport programs compete within our great state enhances the student-athlete experience, generates excitement for our fans, eases non-conference scheduling challenges and creates a stronger economic impact within our state’s footprint.”

The Wildcats football team already was scheduled to face the Lumberjacks in 2021, ’23, ’24, ’26 and ’27.

The UA men’s basketball team faced NAU on Dec. 7 and has played against the Lumberjacks almost every year this century. The women’s team opened this season with a victory over NAU in Tucson.

The agreement will feature competitions on both campuses. These are the sports sponsored by both schools:

  • Men’s and women’s basketball
  • Men’s and women’s cross country
  • Football
  • Women’s golf
  • Women’s soccer
  • Women’s swimming and diving
  • Men’s and women’s tennis
  • Men’s and women’s track and field
  • Women’s volleyball

“The University of Arizona Department of Athletics in general and Dave Heeke in particular have been unbelievable resources for our program as we have navigated COVID-19,” NAU athletic director Mike Marlow said. “This scheduling series is an offspring of conversations centered on the way intercollegiate athletics may look in our state and region for the immediate future.

"An emphasis on regionalized scheduling is certainly something that has become a priority. Our student-athletes, coaches and fans will very much look forward to competing more regularly with the Wildcats in both Tucson and at 7,000 feet in Flagstaff.”

Contact sports reporter Michael Lev at 573-4148 or mlev@tucson.com. On Twitter @michaeljlev 


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