Colorado Reportedly Talking With Big 12 About Departure From Pac-12
May 30, 2023, 4:31 PM | Updated: May 31, 2023, 10:01 am
SALT LAKE CITY – Colorado to the Big 12 is gaining steam. According to Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports, the talks are taking place.
Dodd even says the talks are “substantive,” per his source.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) May 30, 2023
This report comes amidst the uncertainty surrounding the Pac-12’s media rights deal.
Dodd also reports that a move to the Big 12 for Colorado would not happen if it doesn’t receive support from the Buffs’ new coach, Deion Sanders, a.k.a. “Coach Prime.”
Since USC and UCLA announced their intentions last June to move to the Big Ten in 2024, the Pac-12 has been looking for a media rights package that would begin for the 2024-25 academic year.
Last October, the Big 12 secured its future by re-upping with current media rights partners FOX and ESPN. The new deal begins in 2025 and runs through 2031.
Each member institution in the Big 12 will make more money than they did with Texas and Oklahoma in the league. The reported amount in media rights distribution is around $31.5 million.
As for the Pac-12, they are starting a completely new deal. Details have been scarce and the reports have been mixed.
Andrew Marchand reported in the New York Post that ESPN and the Pac-12 have “had no substantive talks.”
KSL Sports’ Utah Insider Michelle Bodkin stated in a KSL Sports Zone interview earlier this month that her sources have indicated the linear portion of the Pac-12’s TV deal is done.
So it feels like we’re in wait-and-see mode at the moment.
Last week, The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel reported that Colorado could soon join the Big 12 Conference.
Colorado AD didn’t silence the Big 12 rumors
After that report, Colorado athletic director Rick George was asked about the latest on realignment in an interview with Brian Howell from BuffZone.com. George’s comments didn’t shoot down the rumors.
“You’ve got to believe about a third of what you see out there,” said George to BuffZone. “We’re members of the Pac-12, we’re proud members of the Pac-12 and we’ve got to see where our media rights deal lands and where our conference goes. In a perfect world, we’d love to be in the Pac-12, but we also have to do what’s right for Colorado at the end of the day. We’ll evaluate things as we move forward.”
It was a far different statement than the one way in April when George shot down a rumor from a Twitter user known for stirring the pot in realignment. The user stated that there was an upcoming vote from Colorado to move to the Big 12. George tweeted, “There is absolutely no truth to this tweet.”
Big 12 Spring Business Meetings this week
The Big 12 Conference is hosting its annual Spring Business Meetings at The Greenbrier in West Virginia this week. Conference realignment is expected to be a topic that Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark discusses with Big 12 Presidents and ADs.
It’s been clear since last June that Yormark has been eyeing the Pac-12 schools. Yormark has said he wants to get into a fourth timezone to make the Big 12 a national league.
Will Pac-12 schools face a tough decision?
Individuals from the “four corner schools,” like George, have shared comments stating their desire to stay in the Pac-12. But if the Pac-12 media rights deal is far less than the Big 12, there could be a decision for a program like Colorado to make about its future.
Colorado was a member of the Big 12 Conference when it was the Big 7 and Big 8. They were in the league from 1948 to 2010. The Buffs left for the Pac-12 in 2011.
The Big 12 Conference will be a 12-team league beginning in 2024 after Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC. In addition, BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston are officially joining the conference during the 2023-24 academic year.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.