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AD Rick George: CU Buffs will ‘do what’s right for Colorado’ in conference realignment

University of Colorado Athletic Director, Rick George, drops in during the Colorado Buffaloes and USC Trojans lacrosse game on April 14, 2023.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
University of Colorado Athletic Director, Rick George, drops in during the Colorado Buffaloes and USC Trojans lacrosse game on April 14, 2023.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Conference realignment in college athletics continues to be a hot topic and Colorado has been at the center of some recent reports.

Earlier this week, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman reported that CU could commit to rejoining the Big 12 “soon,” according to one of his sources.

CU may or may not be ready to make the jump, but athletic director Rick George said the Buffs are going to do what’s best for the school.

“You’ve got to believe about a third of what you see out there,” George told BuffZone. “We’re members of the Pac-12, we’re proud members of the Pac-12 and we’ve got to see where our media rights deal lands and where our conference goes. In a perfect world, we’d love to be in the Pac-12, but we also have to do what’s right for Colorado at the end of the day. We’ll evaluate things as we move forward.”

It certainly hasn’t been a perfect world for the Pac-12.

About 11 months ago, UCLA and USC announced they would be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024, taking the second-largest largest TV market in the country away from the Pac-12.

The Pac-12’s current media rights deal expires next summer and the conference is currently working on a new deal. Those negotiations are taking much longer than expected, however. The longer the conference goes without a deal, the more antsy schools – including CU – could be to look at other options.

For now, the Buffs are still in the Pac-12, but this summer will be big for the future of the conference and CU.

In an interview with BuffZone, George talked about several other topics, as well.

Spring game

CU will turn a net profit of about $200,000 from the April 22 spring football game. For the first time since the 1980s, CU sold tickets – at $10 each – for the spring game and sold out the event, with 47,277 fans in attendance. CU generated about $343,000 in tickets sales revenue and about $143,000 in concessions. After expenses, the net profit will be roughly $200,000 that CU has never made from that event.

In addition, CU generated about $123,000 in revenue from the team store, the largest “game day” merchandise revenue on record for the program.

“Just the merchandise sales was the largest we’ve had of any home game this past year, so that in itself was good,” George said. “Obviously when you have 47,000 people there, there’s revenue that’s generated from that, and concessions.

“It was positive revenue for us and it was really good exposure for us to be on national TV. It was a good day for Colorado athletics.”

Facilities upgrades

George has a long list of upgrades to facilities that he’d like to get done at CU, but it will take some time. Upgrading the west side of Folsom Field is one of the top long-term priorities, but that’s not at the top of the list for now.

“It’s not just the rebuilding of that side (that’s needed), even though that’s something that’s important for us and something that I’d like to do before my last days here at Colorado,” he said. “The first priority is we’ve got to get our scoreboard fixed and we’ve got to do that sooner rather than later. It’s old and we want to get a much larger board with a ribbon board around it for our fans. It’ll help the in-game experience.

“Certainly we need to fix the west side. We’ve got a plan for that. When we do that, we haven’t determined that yet. Then we’ve got to look over to the Events Center and see what needs to be done there to upgrade that. All these (are) things that I’d like to get done in my time that I’ll be here at Colorado.”

This summer, CU is upgrading the facilities on the east side of campus, including a new lacrosse field, upgrading the outdoor track in preparation for hosting the 2024 Pac-12 championships, lights at Prentup Field for soccer and new buildings for skiing, soccer and track and field.

“We’re doing a lot and we expect all of our sports to have really good years next year,” George said.


CU opened up single-game football ticket sales on Wednesday and had a record day, selling 11,273 tickets for games this season. As of now, no games have officially sold out.