Buffs would pay a hefty price for Pac 10 admission
Though the Pac 10 has only agreed to explore the possibility of expansion, that hasn’t stopped anyone from piecing together the future puzzle. This team would come here, that one goes there, and super conferences emerge as the finished product.
The talk continues to gather a head of steam, and Colorado still appears to be a fan favorite for addition, where Utah is still met with mixed emotion. But a move from one league to another isn’t as easy as changing the conference logo on your football fields and basketball gymnasiums. Depending on who you are and where you’re coming from, it may also come at a substantial price.
Movement from the Big XII to the Pac 10 would come with both positives and negatives. And before this can ever occur, they must determine which is greater. One swift move would cater to the fan, but also lighten the wallet. It’s a high risk transition with irreversible effects.
Colorado is a perfect athletic fit for the Pac 10, because a bulk of the alumni are spread along the west coast. Making the switch would actually allow it to take full advantage of its fan base. This is the bait floating in Pacific waters, but the first nibble would not come without sacrifice.
“Big 12 bylaws stipulate that a school leaving the league would forfeit a portion of its annual revenue from the conference, depending on how far in advance the school gives notice it is departing.”–Statesman
The required notice is two years, and during that two year period, the departing school suffers a fifty percent reduction of conference profits. That is a substantial amount of money to be flushed, especially to wander into unknown territory.
The Big XII distributed a conference record $130 million for the fiscal year of 08-09. If that amount was distributed equally, Colorado, being an institution that failed to have the football or basketball programs qualify for either a bowl game or the NCAA tournament, pocketed more than $10 million for staying at home. Assuming the payout remains consistent, and the Buffs give notice and surrender half those earnings for the next two periods, the exit price would be equivalent to their entire cut of the 2009 profits.
Colorado considered a western move before, and the nays won by a margin of 6-3. The Big XII has become more profitable since then, and the exit paper has increased with it. We’ve witnessed programs buying out the contracts of coaches for change, even those with enormous dollar amounts due. But the monetary sacrifice that comes with conference change is of a greater risk, because the effects are long term. If the Buffaloes were unwilling to assume the risk before, what makes anyone so certain that they would now? Has the Pac 10 become more attractive?