Pac-12 survival: All eyes on Colorado as university regents meet to discuss Big 12 move

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Colorado’s future in the Pac-12 could be decided Thursday afternoon when the university’s governing body meets to consider a jump to the Big 12.

The board of regents held an executive session Wednesday afternoon for what it called “legal advice on a specific matter — athletics operations.” Moments later, the regents posted a notice that the board will convene again Thursday in what was termed a “special session.”

Special meetings of the CU regents are common — there have been five since late May. However, the gathering Thursday is expected to focus on conference affiliation.

One industry source said there is a “significant likelihood” that the Buffaloes bolt for the Big 12, their home for six decades before moving to the Pac-12 in the early 2010s. The source added that realignment decisions often take unexpected turns and take longer than expected to play out.

Colorado would become the third university to depart the conference in the past 13 months after the announced exit of the Los Angeles schools, which are scheduled to join the Big Ten in 2024.

The thunderbolt from L.A. on June 30, 2022 prompted Pac-12 presidents to authorize commissioner George Kliavkoff to begin pursuing a new media rights agreement that would secure the future of the conference. The saga remains unresolved and is a source of angst on numerous campuses.

The Big 12 has been attempting to lure Colorado back for months, dangling $31.7 million in annual broadcast revenue — and a contract with ESPN and Fox — in front of chancellor Phil DiStefano, athletic director Rick George and the regents.

After waiting 13 months, the Buffaloes are low on patience and might not stick around to see the Pac-12’s final offer, sources said. The possibility exists that the Pac-12 will sign a media rights deal comparable to, or more lucrative than, the Big 12’s agreement.

Football coach Deion Sanders is believed to favor a move to the Big 12, which is based in Texas, a vital recruiting hub for the Buffaloes.

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