Two days ago, University of Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn told CUBuffs.com that talk about CU moving to the expanding Pac-10 conference had cooled, and that CU is “a proud member of the Big 12 Conference and excited about what we continue to do there.” It’s an answer that makes sense, since discussion of CU jumping conferences was much more frequent over the winter than it has been lately.
But Bohn may want to speak with the university’s chancellor before he talks about the issue again. The Denver Post writes that Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott has CU firmly in his sights as he talks about expanding to 12 or even 14 teams, adding that “the feeling appears mutual in Boulder.” CU chancellor Phil DiStefano tells the Post the school would be a good fit in the Pac-10, as CU is in the Association of American Universities with UCLA, California, Southern California, and Washington–not to mention that CU faculty members have more joint research projects with Pac-10 schools than with Big 12 universities.
Conference expansion is a potential trend over the next few years, with the Big 10 and the Southeastern Conference also looking to get in on the act. The whole thing comes down to money. The Post points out that the Southeastern Conference recently signed a 15-year TV deal worth $200 million annually, and that the Pac-10’s TV deal—set to expire at the end of the 2011-12 basketball season—is worth just more than $50 million per year.
Pac-10 leaders are banking on the fact that adding Denver, the nation’s 16th-largest TV market, will mean signing a much more lucrative TV deal. ESPN says it makes sense for Colorado to jump out of the Big 12, but not everybody thinks it’s a good idea. The Naples Daily News calls possible expansions “chaos,” saying that college football fans will lose out on rivalries built over years as schools try to cash in on larger TV deals.