Utah’s Athletic Director Mark Harlan Talks Pride In Women’s Basketball & Pac-12 Uncertainty 

Mar 16, 2023, 2:50 PM | Updated: 3:05 pm

Utah athletic director Mark Harlan...

Utah athletic director Mark Harlan (Courtesy of James Wooldridge, Deseret News)

(Courtesy of James Wooldridge, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah’s Athletic Director Mark Harlan joined the KSL Sports Zone on Thursday to talk about the women’s basketball tournament and conference uncertainty.

Lady Utes Tournament and Life As Athletic Director

Utah women’s basketball is currently the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They are set to face off against No. 15 Gardner-Webb Bulldogs. Harlan said that being along for the journey makes the appearance that much sweeter.

“It’s been great,” Harlan said. “Whenever you’re in these moments, you think back to the journey. It all came together last year with an incredible season. (Lynne Roberts) just kept keeping to her north star. Which is working and recruiting. It’s fun to watch her and the team be so excited for tomorrow night.”

Athletic Directors oversee hundreds of student-athletes while also representing the school on a larger scale. Harlan explained that the pros outweigh the cons as the Utes Athletic Director.

“There is stress that comes with it,” Harlan said. “It is so much more fun, exciting, and different every day, and that far outmatches any kind of stress. It’s such an honor to be at Utah and lead this program. Far more fun than stress.”

Utah And The Pac-12 Conference

With a Pac-12 media rights deal yet to be decided on, it may finally be in its final stages.

“We had to pivot from our previously decided upon television plan,” Harlan said. “That’s what we’ve been working on. It’s disappointing it’s taken this long to get the deal done. It’s a complicated deal, it really is. We’re coming off 12 years of owning our own network, three different channels, plus a national channel.”

RELATED: Making Sense Of The Latest Pac-12 Media Rights Rumors

After a report came out that talks between Utah and the Big 12 Conference had taken place, there has been speculation on Utah’s future with the Pac-12. Harlan said that the focus is on getting a deal done.

“I feel really good about this conference,” Harlan said. “We need to get a deal that will allow us to all move forward.”

Harlan went on to explain that the deal that they go with will be in the best interest of the school.

“But, we got to get a good deal,” Harlan said. “I’m confident we are moving in that direction and then we can lock arms. If we need to expand, if we think that’s in our best interest, we’ll look at that too.”

RELATED: Big 12 Reengaged In Talks With Utah, Other Pac-12 Schools Per Reports

Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter at @ChandlerHoltKSL.

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Utah’s Athletic Director Mark Harlan Talks Pride In Women’s Basketball & Pac-12 Uncertainty