As of right now, the Arizona Wildcats and UNLV Runnin' Rebels are scheduled to meet on the gridiron at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on September 7th. But it appears that the game will likely be played a lot closer to Tucson.
In a weekly email sent out by Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne called "Wildcat Wednesday", he confirmed that the rumors are true and that a deal is in the works to play the Rebels at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
"We haven't signed a contract yet but we wanted you to know that it is a good possibility that it will happen. If it does we will count on all of our fans throughout the state to come to Glendale to give another reminder that Arizona is Wildcat Country."
Of course the main thing is to work out a deal with the Cardinals. But this shouldn't be too much of an issue considering their last home game prior to the date is a preseason game against the Chargers on August 24th, and their home opener for the regular season is the week after the UA/UNLV game on September 15th.
There are a couple of other things at play here. UNLV's current A.D. Jim Livengood is the man that Greg Byrne replaced at Arizona in 2010 when Livengood left for UNLV. Livengood alluded to the move about a week ago, saying it would make the university about a million dollars.
Livengood didn't really leave U of A on good terms. The athletics department was in the middle of the Lute Olson controversy, where the basketball program had four different head coaches in four years. But today's announcement by Greg Byrne comes at a curious time, since UNLV announced earlier in the day that Livengood would be retiring from his job as A.D. effective June 30th.
It's funny that Byrne and Livengood are meeting to improve both of their football programs in such a big way like this as Livengood is leaving and Byrne is just beginning his quest of turning Arizona into an athletics dynasty. Both of them stated at the beginning of their current tenures that major improvements to their respective football programs were their main goal. Byrne has succeeded. Livengood has not.
Another interesting thing about this move is the fact that the Wildcats have already scheduled a game for 2016 against BYU at University of Phoenix Stadium. This move was made as part of the "Arizona is Wildcat Country" campaign that has defined the Byrne era in Tucson. If the UNLV game next season does actually move to Glendale, it means the Wildcats will play 8 of their 12 games in the state of Arizona in 2013 (6 in Arizona Stadium, 1 in University of Phoenix Stadium, and 1 in Sun Devil Stadium). Also, coming off the heels of ASU's debacle with regards to playing their 2015 or 2016 home schedule in Chase Field, this move could define the Wildcats as the state's football program. And make UNLV a lot of money at the same time.