BOULDER, Colo. — The University of Colorado's board of regents unanimously voted Thursday to leave the Pac-12 conference and join the new-look Big 12 next year.
"We think the time has come for us to change conferences," CU President Todd Saliman told the board. "We see this as a time to create more opportunity" for the university.
The board held a special meeting Thursday afternoon where the resolution was introduced and passed. On Wednesday, the path was cleared for the Buffs when Big 12 presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to accept CU as a member of the conference.
The resolution passed by the board of regents Thursday green-lights Saliman and CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano to formally apply for membership with the conference. For its part, the conference shared a two-word statement about the move shortly after the regents vote:
A statement from the Commissioner. pic.twitter.com/UtGgY5WnTf— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) July 27, 2023
Colorado, which was a founding member of the Big 12 in 1996 and stayed in the conference until it joined the Pac-12 in 2011, will reportedly get an equal share of the Big 12’s $2.3 billion media deal with ESPN and Fox it signed last fall.
The Big 12 had been in contact with Colorado about a potential move for weeks, according to The Associated Press. Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has been vocal in recent months about his desire to expand, including targeting teams from the west.
Both the Pac-12 and Big 12 have seen a great deal of change in the last 12 months. Earlier this year, the Big 12 announced it would allow legacy members Texas and Oklahoma to leave the conference for the SEC in 2024. Last summer, Southern California and UCLA announced plans to bolt from the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.
The exit of those schools was estimated to cost other Pac-12 members as much as $13 million per year in media rights money.
Meanwhile, four schools – Cincinnati, Houston, BYU and Central Florida – join Big 12 play in 2023, meaning 14 teams will compete in the conference in the upcoming athletic year.
Colorado’s football team will play its first regular season game of the Deion Sanders era against a future conference foe. The Buffs open the season Sept. 2 against Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
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