Colorado leaves Big 12 for Pac-10

University of Colorado football team

June 10, 2010 12:58:49 PM PDT
The Pac-10 conference announced Thursday that the University of Colorado has agreed to leave the Big 12 to join its conference.

“This is an historic moment for the Conference, as the Pac-10 is poised for tremendous growth,” commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement.

Colorado’s president said his school was a “perfect match” for the Pac-10 conference.

“The University of Colorado is a perfect match -- academically and athletically -- with the Pac-10,” Colorado president Bruce D. Benson said in a statement.

A source with direct knowledge of the Pac-10’s discussions about adding more Big 12 teams told ESPN’s Joe Schad on Thursday that from the Pac-10’s perspective, it’s “simply a matter of who signs next.”

Colorado’s move might spell the end for the Big 12 Conference. Nebraska is also poised to announce its move from the conference to the Big Ten.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has asked Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor to meet Thursday so they can talk about ways the four state schools could remain in the same conference. A source confirmed to ESPNDallas.com’s Jeff Caplan that the four schools will meet Thursday.

A Big 12 football coach, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach on Wednesday night that if Nebraska left the Big 12 the conference would dissolve, according to his athletics director and university president. The coach said Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado would join the Pac-10, leaving Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State behind.

The coach said the Pac-10 favored Colorado over Baylor because of the Buffaloes’ presence in the Denver TV market.

“Nebraska is the key,” the coach said.

A source close to the Nebraska program told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that athletic director Tom Osborne informed some staff members within the past 24 hours the Cornhuskers were going to make the move to the Big Ten conference.

A source with knowledge of the Big Ten’s plans confirmed to ESPN.com that Nebraska will join the Big Ten by the end of the week or early next week. The source said the formal process of accepting a candidate either has started or would be under way shortly, as Nebraska must formally apply for admission to the Big Ten.

“It’s going to happen, unless something crazy happens in the final hours,” the source said. “I think by this weekend, it’s going to be wrapped up.”

Besides Nebraska, no other candidates are imminent for the Big Ten, which could stay put with 12 members, the source said.

Another Big 12 coach said Wednesday night that an anticipated Nebraska announcement of moving toward the Big Ten Thursday would indeed trigger the death of the Big 12 and a mass migration west.

“If Nebraska leaves,” the coach said, “everyone has to look.”

The new conference would be split into divisions with Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado forming an Eastern Division with Arizona and Arizona State opposite the former Pac-8 (USC, UCLA, Stanford, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State) in the Western Division.

The coach said it’s possible the Pac-16 would push for two automatic bids to the BCS, one for each division champion. That potential bonanza could open the possibility of the two division champs from one league playing for the national title, and it would eliminate the need for a conference championship game.

“The Pac-10 doesn’t believe in a championship game,” the coach said. “And coaches in the Big 12 don’t like it anyway.”

Information from ESPN’s Joe Schad and Chris Mortensen, ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach, Adam Rittenberg, David Ubben and Ted Miller and ESPNDallas.com’s Jeff Caplan was used in this report.

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