University of Colorado Joins Pacific-10 Sports Conference From the Big 12

The University of Colorado will join the Pacific-10 Conference, leaving the future of the Big 12 Conference in question.

The move by the Boulder, Colorado, school was announced on the Pac-10 website. The statement didn’t give details on when the Buffaloes would make the shift.

“This is an historic moment for the conference, as the Pac-10 is poised for tremendous growth,” Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the statement. “The University of Colorado is a great fit for the conference both academically and athletically and we are incredibly excited to welcome Colorado to the Pac-10.”

College athletic conferences are looking to grow so they can create lucrative championships and regional sports networks that can charge cable companies large subscriber fees for their programming.

By inviting Colorado to join the conference, the Walnut Creek, California-based Pac-10 gains access to the television market in Denver and the surrounding area.

ESPN reported yesterday that the Pac-10 also plans to invite Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to join its conference in the coming weeks.

Oklahoma State

TMZ Sports reported today that Oklahoma State will soon follow Colorado to the Pac-10, citing an unnamed person in the OSU athletic department.

OSU spokesman Kevin Klintworth wouldn’t confirm the report. “Nothing to announce,” he said in an e-mail. “We will have a statement from the president later today, but not a confirmation.”

At stake is the collapse of the Big 12, where Nebraska and Missouri have been given until the end of the day tomorrow to say if they intend to stay in the conference.

The Big Ten Conference hired Chicago-based William Blair & Company LLC to evaluate whether adding as many as five schools would generate enough revenue to make it worthwhile, the Chicago Tribune reported in March. The firm evaluated Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Missouri, Syracuse and Rutgers, according to the newspaper. ESPN reported that Nebraska is also being considered and could announce it is leaving the Big 12 as early as tomorrow.

If all those schools leave, the Big 12 would be left with Kansas State, Iowa State, Kansas and Baylor. That may signal the destruction of the conference.

Colorado was named college football’s national champion for the 1990 season in the writers’ poll conducted by the Associated Press.

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at ceichelberge@bloomberg.net

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