Opinion: Where Things Stand With Colorado’s Apparent Move To Big 12

Jul 27, 2023, 11:32 AM | Updated: 8:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Wednesday was a master class in “it’s fine till it’s not fine” for the Pac-12. News began to trickle late yesterday afternoon that the Buffs are planning on heading back to the Big 12, leaving a lot of questions that need answering.

So where do things stand for the Pac-12 with Colorado’s apparent move back to the Big 12? That’s still rather hard to say.

In the conversations I’ve had over the past 12 or so hours a few themes have popped up about what has happened, and a few thoughts shared on what possibly happens next.

Some Emerging Themes From Colorado’s Expected Departure

You know that saying, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”? Well, in the last 24 hours or so, the Pac-12 has hit the third “fool me” in a little over a year. You never want to hit the third “fool me”. There isn’t a catchy saying for that because it should never get to that point.

Why is this significant?

The fact the Pac-12 has apparently been caught flat-footed yet again doesn’t instill a lot of outside confidence they will be able to manage their way to a media deal without further mishaps.

Yes, I have been told there is still a path forward for the Pac-12 from a couple of places, but as one of my contacts put it, “there is a path out of this for the Pac-12, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in the CEO group to find it”.

There Has Been A Lot Of Confusion Inside And Outside Of Colorado

As the rumblings got louder that the Buffs were seriously looking at their exit plan Wednesday afternoon and the Big 12 was onboard, I hit the phones to see what I could find out. It was chaotic to say the least.

A couple of my contacts initially told me one thing, only to come back later in the night and say something different. This went both ways for and against Colorado leaving or staying.

Additionally, the impressions I was getting from my conversations indicated to me that even people within Colorado who probably should know what was going on didn’t, while others who maybe shouldn’t know much did. Again, this was just the impression I was getting from the information I was receiving at the time.

Again, a lot of chaos in those conversations that ultimately looks like the Buffs are on their way out of the Pac-12.

Was The Writing On The Wall And A Lot Of People Missed It?

There were some interesting behaviors coming from the Colorado crowd before and during Pac-12 Media Day last week in Las Vegas that were discounted in the moment, but with hindsight look oddly suspicious this week.

Did people miss some signs something was amiss? I think “yes” is a fair response here and I certainly count myself amongst those who maybe missed a big clue.

For starts, there were these two headlines about head coach Deion Sanders backing out of Media Day last minute due to health concerns and Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano reaffirming the Buffs’ commitment to the Pac-12 while saying the CEO group was going to get media rights numbers from commissioner George Kliavkoff ahead of Media Day. Those numbers were apparently never presented according to this report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel yesterday.

Add in further reports out of Media Day of Colorado’s athletic director Rick George not sticking around to answer questions after being a part of a round-table discussion and quarterback Shedeur Sanders’ reportedly prickly demeanor with several reporters- that’s a lot of “resistance” from one school for one event.

These events don’t even take into account going back further in time to around May when talk about Colorado and the Big 12 being deep in discussions picked up again.

On a singular level, none of these things feel like they mean a whole lot. Especially if you’ve been following closely on how this whole ordeal has been reported from the jump. But all together? It feels a little different.

What Is The Pac-12 Doing Now?

I got a call late last night there was potential for a final decision from Colorado not to go through today. If I’m being honest, I think the Buffs’ minds are made up, but there is one thing I will be watching in addition to their Board of Regents meeting this afternoon to be fully sure of that opinion.

I received a text early this morning that the Pac-12 CEO Group was planning on meeting either sometime today or tomorrow to get Colorado on record as to what is going on and to discuss what they will do moving forward. Pac-12 reporter John Canzano just confirmed that meeting is happening this afternoon.

Is there potential to get Colorado to halt their plans for a little while longer? Talk them off the proverbial ledge? Maybe, but I don’t know that I would put money on that at this point. Again, it feels like their minds are made up.

Still, I and many of my colleagues will be watching intently to see not only what happens with the Pac-12 CEO meeting, but the Colorado Regents meeting as well.

Could There Be More Defections If In Fact Colorado Is Out?

There have been some rumors swirling that Arizona may be next. At this point, I wouldn’t put anything past anyone, but for the here and now, I’ve been assured from a couple of places that no one else wants to move.

Could that change? Absolutely. This is a very fluid and quick-changing situation.

The rules are, there are no rules and as the Pac-12 has watched play out several times now, a man’s word doesn’t mean much in business.

Stay tuned.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Opinion: Where Things Stand With Colorado’s Apparent Move To Big 12