Colorado reportedly in talks about leaving Pac-12 for Big 12

Jul 26, 2023, 2:55 PM | Updated: 9:02 pm

Coloraod head football coach Deion Sanders...

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders looks on in the first half of the team's spring practice NCAA college football game, April 22, 2023, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

The Colorado Buffaloes are in talks to depart the Pac-12 for the Big 12 and have scheduled a second board meeting to continue that discussion on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Brett McMurphy of the Action Network joined Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo Show and said Colorado is leaving because it is a financial no-brainer.

“I think they (Colorado) kind of saw the writing on the wall with the Pac-12. I talked to sources at other schools about their future and they said the decision they have to make is do we stay in the Pac-12 and fight to keep the Pac-12 alive or just basically accept this is not the Pac-12 we signed up for?” McMurphy said.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel tweeted Wednesday night that sources said the Big 12 has approved Colorado’s inclusion.

McMurphy added there is the possibility that Arizona could be next to bolt to the Big 12 because of the more impressive basketball programs they would be joining, including perennial juggernaut Kansas.

“The Big 12 is the best conference in the land, and if they are able to add a program like Arizona, oh, wow, that would be incredible,” he said.

As for Oregon and Washington leaving the Pac-12, he said right now, the Big Ten does not want to look like the bad guy.

“I was told from multiple sources that the Big Ten does not, quote, ‘want to have the Pac-12’s blood on their hands,’ by taking Oregon and Washington and basically destroying the Pac-12,” McMurphy said.

Thamel said earlier Wednesday the “tenor of this meeting is different” from past meetings where the possibility was raised prior. Thamel reports that the Big 12 will be holding president and chancellor meetings on Wednesday, where an update on expansion opportunities is on the docket.

The potential move by Colorado comes as the Pac-12 continues to be without a media rights extension as the 2023 football season looms.

Thamel said numbers of a potential deal on the horizon have not been presented to leaders of Pac-12 schools despite the expectation from some members that it would be finalized in March. That got pushed back again to football media day last Friday, but the key deadline passed without news.

The lengthy process has gone far beyond the original expectations, that an agreement would be settled on before the 2023 calendar year. USC and UCLA in June 2022 announced their decision to leave the Pac-12, pushing back the process to some degree. They will join the Big Ten starting in the 2024-25 sports season.

What impact a move by Colorado has on the remaining Pac-12 schools, including the Arizona State Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats, remains to be seen.

Colorado, which has grown in value after the hiring of head football coach Deion Sanders, would leave the Pac-12 without another key market, though the Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies are at present viewed as the league’s two most valued sports brands considering their football teams.

“I think there’s been a lot of misreporting and specific targeted messages about the Pac-12 in the last year since we lost UCLA and USC,” Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said at media day Friday.

“We’ve been taking the high road and not worrying about what the press is saying or what someone on Twitter is saying. We’re really focused on the future of the conference, and that starts with the media deal and then the discussion about expansion and then playing the great football that we’re playing.”

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