U of U Athletics director talks about PAC-12 impact on university’s sports

Posted at 1:08 PM, Sep 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-27 15:13:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Joining the PAC-12 Conference changed the face of athletics at the University of Utah in many ways.

Since 2011, the university has built two state-of-the-art facilities, opened its pool to competing against high-caliber teams and added resources for athletes competitive for recruitment.

FOX 13 News' Bob Evans spoke with Athletics Director Chris Hill about how being a part of the PAC-12 has changed the Utes’ world of sports.

“You know, we're able to play at the highest level,” Hill said. “We recruit somebody we say every day, ‘you're gonna be playing against a guy that's gonna be a pro.’”

It was a combination of PAC-12 and donor dollars that built the new football practice facility as well as the state-of-the-art basketball facility opening next week.

Bob asked Hill about future expansion plans for the Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“The obvious thing is in the south end zone there,” Hill said as he gestured out to the field. “That building has gotta go. I mean, it's just gotta be done with, and we need to put locker rooms and then finish off the bowl, if you will.”

Next year, a giant video wall will be installed to fit into the south end zone. There is also debate on when to expand the stadium since home games sell out consistently.

But being part of the PAC-12 is more than just brick and mortar.

With additional resources for athletes, Hill said, it improves the quality of athlete the university is able to recruit.

Hill also talked about the two-year break in rivalry between Utah and Brigham Young University. For the Utes, he said, the break has been good.

“We had the opportunity to have somebody come here, play at our place, that nobody would have thought of 10 years ago,” the athletics director said. “We had Michigan coming to our place. We expected to win on national TV and we won. I mean, that's part of making us a national program.”