28 July, 2023
Colorado made the announcement on Thursday after convening a board of regents meeting to accept an offer from its previous league. Colorado is leaving the Pac-12 to rejoin the Big 12, the school said.
According to a joint statement from Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano and athletic director Rick George, “After careful thought and consideration, it was determined that a switch in conference would give CU Boulder the stability, resources, and exposure necessary for long-term future success in a college athletics environment that is constantly evolving.” “The Big 12’s national reach across three time zones as well as our shared creative vision for the future, we feel, makes it an excellent fit for CU Boulder, our students, faculty, and alumni.”
Colorado was invited after a unanimous decision during a Big 12 conference call on Wednesday. Concerning the Buffaloes’ entry back into the conference, commissioner Brett Yormark released the following succinct statement: They’ve returned.
For the 2024 season, the Buffaloes will re-join the Big 12. With Texas and Oklahoma scheduled to leave at the same time for the SEC, Colorado’s return will increase the number of clubs in the conference to 13.
Colorado, a longtime member of the Big 12 and its predecessor, the Big Eight, joined the Pac-12 in 2011 as the Football Bowl Subdivision experienced significant expansion. The most recent instance of this kind of back-and-forth realignment by a single program occurred during Temple’s two spells as a member of the Big East from 1991 to 2004 and again in 2012.
The newest expansion domino to fall coincides with a general sense of discomfort and dissatisfaction among Pac-12 member schools regarding the league’s unresolved television rights agreements and the conference’s standing in the Power Five leagues.
The Pac-12 could replace Colorado in the upcoming months; the league stated in a statement that it would “embrace expansion opportunities” following the conclusion of its media rights deal; however, the program’s departure is a major blow to the conference, which has lagged far behind the other Power Five conferences in terms of on-field success and projected annual revenue for the remainder of the decade.
Colorado president Todd Saliman said in a statement, “I want to thank the Pac 12 Conference for the home it has offered to CU athletics for more than a decade. “We look forward to keeping up the numerous alliances formed with our Pac 12 colleagues. The University of Colorado Boulder has determined that the Big 12 is the best long-term match for our athletic teams given the constantly changing collegiate sports scene.
Colorado was consistently ranked in the Top 25 and one of the best programs in the nation from the 1980s through the early 2000s. Georgia Tech and the Buffaloes split the 1990 national championship.
But in the Buffaloes’ final years in the Big 12, their success started to decline. Colorado lost 21-38 in its final five seasons in the league despite capturing the division title in 2002 and the conference championship in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005, respectively.
The Pac-12 saw the bottom drop out. Since joining the league in 2011, Colorado has only had two winning seasons, one of which occurred in the COVID-abridged 2020 campaign.
Under first-year coach Deion Sanders, the Buffaloes have earned some national traction. Sanders has also garnered a lot of attention for the unusual method he reconstructed the roster in advance of his debut.