KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn said he and other school officials have been led to believe the Pac-10 Conference is on the verge of issuing invitations to six members of the Big 12 to join its ranks.
Bohn said CU has not had any contact with the Pac-10 or its representatives and he was not clear on how he came to believe invitations could be forthcoming. But he said Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech could receive invitations possibly as soon as this weekend when Pac-10 officials meet in San Francisco.
"The longer that we were together in Kansas City it appeared that that rumor or speculation did have some validity to it," Bohn said in an
Orangebloods.com reported Thursday that the Pac-10 is set to invite those same six teams from the Big 12, forming a 16-team superconference that would encompass three times zones with the ability to produce huge television revenue.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott issued a statement Thursday evening in response to the report.
"We have not developed any definitive plans,” Scott said. “We have not extended any invitations for expansion and we do not anticipate any such decisions in the near term."
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe did not take questions from reporters following a day of meetings at the Intercontinental Hotel here where a media horde was staked out outside conference rooms where the league's athletic directors met with Beebe as well as school chancellors and presidents.
Beebe is scheduled to speak with media members Friday morning when the spring meetings conclude with a board of directors meeting, that will likely produce votes on future championship sites and other matters.
Beebe came to Kansas City hoping to galvanize the league against rumored attempts from other conferences to pick off members. Missouri and Nebraska are possible targets for the Big Ten, which is studying expansion by 1-5 teams.
Colorado and Texas previously received invitations from the Pac-10 in the mid-1990s but chose to stick with the fledgling Big 12. It now appears the Pac-10 will offer CU and Texas once again, along with four other teams from the Big 12 South Division.
"We're led to believe that that may be the case, but, again, there are so many different reports and different dialogues and different developments within our league and outside our league that prevents me from being able to predict what will happen," Bohn said.
Bohn said at this point Colorado remains a committed and proud member of the Big 12 and he believes the conference has a bright future if its members remain together.
"There is great equity in the Big 12 Conference and currently the financial model and the competitive equity we have as a league is currently serving us well," he said. "The future television partnership opportunities bodes well for long term financial viability."
Bohn said Beebe did not ask for letters of commitment from Big 12 members as of Thursday afternoon and did not seek to make leaving the conference more difficult by attempting to raise exit fees. Both options could still come up before the meetings conclude Friday.
If Colorado does receive an invitation to join another conference, Bohn said school officials would seek a wide range of opinions on any possible change in affiliation from students, faculty, alumni and boosters. Any change in conference affiliation would be subject to approval by the Board of Regents requiring a majority vote.
The Big 12 requires exiting schools to provide two years notice if they intend to leave the conference. Departing schools would also forfeit 50 percent of conference distributions during those two years. The cost for leaving rises if less than two years notice is given.
If Colorado accepts an invitation to join another conference and provides two years notice, it would likely cost the athletic department at least $9 million over two years based on recent distributions it has received from the Big 12.