BREAKING: Colorado expected to move from Pac-12 to Big 12

Daniel Thomas tries to get away from a defender in K-State’s win over Colorado on Oct. 24, 2009. Thomas and the Wildcats would go on to face the No. 22 Oklahoma the following week. (Archive photo by Jonathan Knight)

Conference realignment has its latest development — this time, a shift back to the past. Colorado University is expected to return to the Big 12 Conference, per Pete Thamel at ESPN.

Colorado was a member of the Big 12 from 1996 to 2010 before leaving for the Pac-12 in 2011. 

Since joining the Pac-12, Colorado has seen little success in the NCAA’s highest-revenue sport — football. The Buffaloes own no bowl wins and just two winning football seasons. 

The Big 12 will compete as a 14-team conference during the 2023-24 athletic year with four new members in BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston. Following this year, Oklahoma and Texas will depart for the SEC. 

Colorado’s departure from the Pac-12 would follow the 2023-24 season, coinciding with the end of the Pac-12 television deal. Colorado would not have to pay the Pac-12 an exit fee as a result of the conference failing to strike a deal. 

With the addition of Colorado, the Big 12 would stand at 13 members. Universities that have been rumored to join are fellow Pac-12 members Arizona, Arizona State and Utah, in addition to Connecticut and others. 

The Big 12 has been active under the one-year leadership of Commissioner Brett Yormark. After he became commissioner in August 2022, the conference struck a six-year, $2.28 billion TV deal with ESPN and Fox Sports. Colorado is his latest accomplishment, and Yormark is not likely to slow down soon.