Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe said Monday that it makes sense for CU to leave the Big 12 after this season, however, no agreement has been reached yet.
Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe said Monday that it makes sense for CU to leave the Big 12 after this season, however, no agreement has been reached yet. ( Tony Gutierrez )

IRVING, Texas – Big 12 Conference commissioner Dan Beebe said “it makes the most sense” for the University of Colorado to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-10 in 2011 instead of the 2012, and he believes that is likely to happen.

Talking with a handful of reporters in the back of the main interview room at Big 12 football media days one day before he is scheduled to give his state of the conference update, Beebe said he is optimistic the details of Colorado's exit from the league can be finalized before the college football season begins in six weeks.

“I think all of us have that interest,” Beebe said when asked about CU leaving a year earlier than originally planned. “We just have to make sure we've got everything solidified in terms of all the issues. Everybody has been tremendous in terms of working together. There has been a very, very strong expression by our board and our athletics directors about ensuring that these relationships are treated well and that both institutions that are departing are treated with the utmost respect. That's been demonstrated in what we've carried out so far.”

Colorado officials also have said throughout the summer they are hopeful to resolve the details in switching conferences before the coming school year begins. The main sticking point is how much money Colorado will pay or forfeit in conference distributions from the Big 12.

Some reports have speculated the figure could be as much as $20 million. CU sources have estimated the final cost will likely be somewhere between $9 million and $14.5 million. Beebe was asked if the $20 million estimate was too high.

“I'm not going to speak to any kind of consideration of the financial implications,” Beebe said. “We're still in talks about it. That shouldn't say anything one way or the other about that.”

Beebe will likely address the issue further Tuesday when he faces the full media horde covering three days of events here.

Beebe and his staff have been busy preparing for the final season Nebraska will be in the league. It is most likely Colorado's final season, too. Beebe said believes both teams will be treated with respect when they're on the road in the conference this season and the conference can get through the year without much rancor.

“Yeah, I think we can,” he said. “It's hard to get that down to some of the fan level, but I think there is going to be a large effort to do that. ...We haven't talked about specific campaigns to do so.”

Beebe said administrators from Nebraska and Texas already are planning to get together prior to their Oct. 16 rematch of last year's conference title game. The commissioner also plans to be at that game in Lincoln, Neb.

Beebe said the 10 remaining members of the conference have come together well in the aftermath of the conference realignment hubbub earlier this summer that nearly killed the Big 12.

“We came out as strong as I've ever observed this league in terms of the collegiality and the interest and the understanding that everybody needs everybody else,” Beebe said. “I've never seen such cohesion with this group of institutions.

“...It's kind of like a family spat and then you come back stronger and more appreciative of each other.”