Reports: Colorado Set to Move to Big 12

Photo via Daniel X. O'Neil @ Flickr

It’s a big move.

We cookin’ now.

Action Network’s Bretty McMurphy is reporting that Colorado is leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12:

The Buffaloes will formally apply for Big 12 membership on Thursday, when the Big 12’s Board of Directors will approve the Buffs to begin Big 12 play in 2024, sources said.

An announcement is expected Thursday, pending official approval from the school’s Board of Regents, a source said. CU’s Board of Regents will meet for a second consecutive day on Thursday from 5-6 p.m. ET.

A member of the Pac-12 since 2011, Colorado decided to return to the Big 12, sources said, because of several reasons: the Big 12’s stability under commissioner Brett Yormark; a more lucrative financial outlook in the Big 12; the uncertainty of the Pac-12’s future without USC and UCLA; and the inability of Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff to secure a new Grant of Rights deal in the past 12 months.

In the Big 12, Colorado will receive $31.7 million annually in media rights revenue (not including other league revenue from College Football Playoff, etc.) once the Big 12’s new six-year, $2.3 billion Grant of Rights deal with ESPN and FOX begins in 2025, sources said. That’s the same amount each Big 12 member will receive.

I also want to highlight Jason Scheer who writes for WildcatAuthority (an Arizona site) and he’s been on top of this from the get-go, so more or less giving him a shout-out.

I also want to highlight Y!Sports’ Ross Dellinger (this is Yahoo!) who reports that the deal is near because the Pac-12 failed to provide numbers:

The Pac-12 remains without a television contract after its current deal expires next summer, a precarious position in which the loss of the Los Angeles market has negatively impacted the conference’s value. Pac-12 presidents met Wednesday morning for another update on a television deal from commissioner George Kliavkoff. Colorado representatives on the call did not reveal their intentions to leave or that they planned to hold a board meeting that afternoon, sources with knowledge of the call tell Yahoo Sports.

The timing of the impending move — late July — is not coincidence. During discussions with Colorado, Big 12 officials set a deadline for the Buffaloes to make a decision – by Aug. 1.

In many ways, Colorado’s exit is a long time coming. Its flirtation with the Big 12 dates back to last fall, soon after the Big 12 secured a long-term television deal of its own with Fox and ESPN.

Signs grew more obvious last week that Colorado administrators were growing impatient and lacked confidence in Kliavkoff’s ability to land a suitable deal. Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano suggested publicly that Kliavkoff produce television contract figures at a meeting scheduled for last Thursday. Figures were not presented and DiStefano’s move was seen by many within the league as a move to pressure the Pac-12 commissioner.

If Dellinger is correct, then maybe the Pac-12 can present a deal within the next few days, but that seems really unlikely if a deal is on the table for Colorado to receive a full share of the Big 12. And if you believe the following, then Colorado is a done deal.

The next question is “who’s next?” and the easy answer is the rest of the 4 corner schools, but if Oregon and Washington are knocking on your door, then you probably answer that door.


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