Utah Utes' sports move to Pac-12 is under way

Hill knows moving to the Pac-12 will take strategic planning

Published: Saturday, April 23 2011 8:00 p.m. MDT

The numbers, though, are a bit deceiving. The Utes have some definite advantages over many of their Pac-12 colleagues in that regard.

Utah offers the NCAA maximum of scholarships in each sport it offers. The cost of tuition, however, is less than all of the other schools in the league — giving the Utes more money to allocate elsewhere.

"That's a little help to us," Hill said before pointing out another favorable variable. The U.'s athletic department, he continued, has essentially no debts on its facilities and no debt for being overbudget and/or borrowing money from the university like some other schools do.

"There's some advantages that we have that help us say 'OK, we can get there,' " Hill said.

After operating a "lean machine" throughout the years, Utah's athletic department is well equipped to make rational decisions when it comes to future growth and accompanying expenses. Upper management has not grown at a ridiculous rate, Hill said.

"I think having a leaner machine allows us to target where we want to put our money," he explained. "It's so important for us — I can't emphasize enough — for our coaches to have the support they need to compete. That has to happen."

As the new kids on the Pac-12 block, Hill noted that Utah doesn't always have to do what somebody else does as long as the teams and coaches have that backing.

"We are going to do what's best for us. We have things that are better than (others) already. We have some things in place that are better," Hill said while noting that the Huntsman Center will be the biggest basketball and gymnastics venue in the Pac-12 and that Rice-Eccles Stadium is as pretty as anybody's else place to play.

There's more. Topping the list, he emphasized, are the coaches Utah employs.

"We have really good coaches," Hill said. "And that's a big deal."

It all adds up to a bottom line that has kept the 61-year-old department head enthused throughout a busy transition.

"The big picture is we're excited," Hill concluded. "We are going to compete. We're going to provide the resources to be successful. We're going to do it as the University of Utah."

Email: dirk@desnews.com

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