Utah was already on the list before Chris Hill ever communicated with Larry Scott. This is a telling statement:

Posted By: Puget Ute
Date: Wednesday 11 July 2018, at 10:54 am
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Scott: The focus was very much on academic profile and trajectory and Utah at the time was ascendant academically. Their rankings were improving, the growth areas of the university seemed to be increasing the amount of research dollars they were attracting every year. They were really considered a preeminent research institution in the West. So we spent a lot of time trying to understand that as well as focusing on the athletic heritage, pedigree, which was obvious.

We were looking at facilities, talking about future plans and objectives and philosophy, and we came to the determination that [Utah] would be a really good fit culturally. They were a school that had a history of being very successful despite having less resources than traditional big conference schools. And we became excited about the possibility of being a good fit early on, but also becoming a strong member of the conference with the additional resources, exposure and prestige that would come being a part of the Pac-12.

Hill: We worked everything out but the money and they said, “When can you start?” Colorado was going to have to wait a year but we said, “We’ll start now.” They said, “You won’t get any money.” And we said, “We don’t care.” We wanted to get it done before any kind of political pressure hit us – anybody in the state trying to say we couldn’t do it.

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