Pac 12 change worries some athletes

Watch a multimedia piece on the Pac 10 change.

Story and multimedia by JANITA BADON

The University of Utah is honored to join the PAC 10.  Along with Colorado University, the University of Utah will be joining what is now known as the PAC-10 in the fall of 2011.  They will be one of 12 schools in the conference, which will soon to be known as the PAC 12.  While most seem happy with the decision, it is not smiles for everyone.

Most people take pride in the fact that the athletes at the University of Utah are going to be moving up into this dominating conference. Many talk about how much more money they’ll be receiving and how it’s going to be better for the football team, but it’s not the same thought for all the other varsity teams at the U.

Allison Gida is a freshman on the women’s track team at the University of Utah, and she’s worried about the competition and changes in her scholarship opporutnities.

“I just don’t understand this,” Gida said. “I came into this conference with confidence and understanding that I would compete in front of my family and dominate my competition at the MWC level. Since I only have half my scholarship paid for, I might be stuck at that same amount instead of receiving more based on my performance in the MWC.”

Gida wasn’t the only person with concerns about this sudden change; fans are also worried about how the running Utes will match up to the competition in the PAC 10 conference.

“Yea, there’s more money involved, but am I going to be as entertained as I’ve been in the past?” Jill Roberts a member of the Crimson Club said. “Ticket prices are going up, and I’m fine with that, but will it all be worth it?”

Questions like Roberts’ circulate the campus, but only time can tell.

With all these mixed emotions on campus, it’s important to note some athletes have actually been waiting anxiously for this change. The football team has dominated the MWC in recent years. The basketball teams have been very successful in their years of being in this conference. The volleyball team has a great resume as well, and many of its members simply thought it was perfect timing for a change.

Brittany Knighton, a freshmen on the women’s basketball team, is looking forward to going home to Oregon and playing in front of her loved ones. She also believes in her varsity teams here at the U, and thinks they can compete with the best of the best.

“I’m ready to just compete, I’m a competitor, so whoever I’m thrown upon I’ll be ready to play.” Knighton said. “I know going home will be fun, especially playing against schools that recruited you.”

University officials have said that joining the PAC 10 is going to add to the college experience for student athletes and non-student athletes alike. Student-athletes will enjoy competition at the highest level, while non-student athletes will enjoy being grouped together with academic institutions known around the world like Stanford and Cal-Berkeley.  Since the University of Utah switched conferences, ticket sales are going up and the student body is expanding on campus.

According to local members of the Crimson Club, the University of Utah athletics budget is currently at $25-$30 million dollars. But the budget for most PAC 10 schools is more than $40 million dollars, so this deficit will have to be made up in order for Utah’s teams to compete with the other PAC 12 schools.

Many schools budgets vary depending on their gross revenues and where they are located.  USC has a budget of $76 million and Stanford is right behind them with a $75 million budget.  While Utah is much lower right now, they will receive more money in the future from ticket sales and television revenue.

“The addition of the University of Utah as the conferences 12th member continues to strengthen the PAC 10’s goals of becoming the country’s leader in college athletics,” Larry Scott the commissioner of the new PAC 12 said. “The University of Utah is a great academic and athletic fit, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the PAC 10.”

While some student athletes still question the move, the president of the university is fully behind the change.

“I have no doubt that, speaking for the entire Utah family, we could not be more pleased to accept this invitation to join the PAC 10,” Micheal Young said. “The University of Utah will be a great contributor to an already great conference and this will be a tremendous in both academically and athletically for the University.”