Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan: I Am Tired Of Outside Forces Creating Narratives Involving Utah, Our Conference

Mar 15, 2023, 7:04 PM | Updated: 7:05 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan joined Unrivaled on Wednesday afternoon to set the record straight regarding the on-going Pac-12 media rights negotiations and why he’s tired of outside forces creating narratives.

The Pac-12 has been surrounded by rumors of “sure demise” since USC and UCLA announced their intention to leave the Conference of Champions after this upcoming football season, last summer.

One of the main rumors consistently reported on in the last eight months has been that Utah, ASU, Arizona, and Colorado are in talks to join the Big 12. Last week, we put out an article challenging that notion based on conversations had with reliable sources around the situation.

Harlan joined Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry on the heels of this interview from ASU President Michael Crow, further cementing that the Utes are staying put in the Pac-12, and the remaining members are committed and close to signing a deal they are happy with.

 We’ve Always Had A Plan

Harlan started out by saying he and the rest of his colleagues have never not been clear in their intent to stick together as 10 to form a plan that worked for everyone. He further explained that forging a deal of this nature with all the moving parts and people to please is hard and takes time.

“I’ve been clear all along- the other schools in our conference have been clear all along that we’re together,” Harlan said. “We’re 10. We’ve said it. We’re working hard with our commissioner to get this deal done. It’s a complicated deal. There is structure and high expectations with ADs and certainly the presidents and chancellors for the commissioner to nail this thing so we can march forward.”

Harlan continued by hinting the Pac-12 has never been on anyone else’s timetable, and therefore outsiders have taken liberties in their reporting on what is going on. It reached a point, according to Harlan where he felt like he had to say something, hence, the now infamous, “Give me a break,” Tweet.

“Because we aren’t hitting certain people’s expectations of time and outside forces, people start chipping away,” Harlan said. “They start creating things like ‘Four Corners’ and whatever comes up. Whatever causes the clicks- whatever it might be. So yes. I read an article by a writer that I actually have great respect for in Dennis Dodd, but the article had a bunch of things that weren’t true.”

“When you are in the middle of the process, there are times you need to raise your hand up and say ‘woah, woah, woah,'” Harlan continued. “We all know it’s been really difficult to manage post-L.A. schools leaving, but we’ve always had a plan which was to work together and get a new deal. Let’s go forward.”

As for what is going to happen next? Harlan has a positive outlook for where the Pac-12’s media negotiations are going and believes it will be done soon. Harlan did reiterate; however, he is tired of false narratives about Utah and the conference and that is why he’s been speaking up.

“I’m very pleased with where things are trending,” Harlan said. “I think we are going to wrap this thing up pretty soon. I’m excited about the updates we are getting, and we go forward. I did that because I am tired of outside forces creating narratives that involved the University of Utah and certainly our conference.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan: I Am Tired Of Outside Forces Creating Narratives Involving Utah, Our Conference