University of Colorado officials are still planning to remain in the Big 12 Conference through the 2011-12 school year and join the Pac-12 Conference two years from now as originally announced in June.
"That is our plan and that is what we are working on," athletic director Mike Bohn told the Camera today.
It has been assumed by many that Colorado would leave the Big 12 a year early and join the Pac-12 in 2011 at the same time Utah is slated to begin competing in the league and coinciding with Nebraska's departure to the Big Ten Conference.
However, CU and Big 12 officials appear to be having trouble reaching an agreement on the financial terms of the school's exit from the league under that scenario. So Colorado officials appear to be content to remain in the Big 12 until 2012. CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano is handling the negotiations with the Big 12.
CU gave the Big 12 two years' notice of its intention to leave the league back in June, meeting the criteria spelled out in Big 12 bylaws. The Buffs would have to forfeit 50 percent of conference distributions for those two years.
Nebraska and Utah made their conference realignment announcements after CU, leading to speculation about the Buffs speeding up the time line for their move by a year. Big 12 bylaws require schools to forfeit 80 percent of conference distributions with just one year notice of an intention to leave.
Big 12 officials have publicly quoted the 80 percent as the total CU will owe almost from the beginning, despite the fact the Buffs gave two years' notice.
Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman has said he doesn't believe departing schools owe the Big 12 any money.
Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda was not immediately available for comment.
The Pac-12 has agreed to help CU with some of the cost to switch leagues, but millions can be saved by simply remaining in the Big 12 an extra year. Colorado officials have estimated they could forfeit between $9 million and $14.5 million in conference distributions.
Bohn acknowledged the school is proceeding as if it will be in the Big 12 until 2012 during an interview regarding a nonconference game at Ohio State next season that has been finalized. The Camera was first to report a game against the Buckeyes was in the works.
The Buffs will earn $1.4 million from Ohio State to play in Ohio Stadium on Sept. 24 next season. CU will earn additional revenue for the contest under the Big 12 revenue distribution plan because ESPN already has committed to televise the game nationally.
Bohn said CU also is planning to play 13 regular season games in football in 2011, including a trip to Hawaii to start the season. The NCAA allows any team playing a nonconference game in Hawaii to schedule a 13th game in that season.
Colorado originally scheduled a home game against Fresno State for Sept. 24 next year, but that game has been rescheduled for Oct. 8. Bohn said there are some uncertainties about the 2011 schedule at this point because he is waiting for Big 12 officials to determine a conference schedule for an 11-team league.
"We're waiting for further direction from the Big 12 on how many games will be incorporated into the conference schedule for 2011," Bohn said.
It remains a possibility that a deal could be reached allowing CU to leave the Big 12 in 2011, but a large gap must be closed in the disagreement amount how much the Buffs will have to pay to do so.