[Fox News] Colorado to depart Pac-12, return to Big 12 conference in 2024-2025

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Conference realignment continues to shake up the world of college athletics. 

The Colorado Buffaloes will depart the Pac-12 conference and return to the Big 12 in the 2024-2025 academic year, the school announced Thursday.

“After careful thought and consideration, it was determined that a switch in conference would give CU Boulder the stability, resources, and exposure necessary for long-term future success in a college athletics environment that is constantly evolving,” Chancellor Philip DiStefano and Athletic Director Rick George said in a joint statement. “The Big 12’s national reach across three time zones as well as our shared creative vision for the future we feel makes it an excellent fit for CU Boulder, our students, faculty, and alumni.”

“These decisions are never easy and we’ve valued our 12 years as proud members of the Pac-12 Conference. We look forward to achieving new goals while embarking on this exciting next era as members of the Big 12 Conference.”

The Colorado Board of Regents unanimously approved the resolution on Thursday.

The Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 in 2011 after 15 years in the Big 12 and have had just one winning football season since changing conferences.

The Big 12’s board of directors approved Colorado’s application for Big 12 membership on Thursday, clearing the way for the Buffaloes to join the conference in 2024.

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It’s another major blow to the Pac-12, which will lose USC and UCLA in 2024 as the two West Coast powers join the Big Ten conference.

For the Big 12, the conference continues to add teams as Texas and Oklahoma prepare for their final year in the conference before heading to the SEC.

The Big 12 welcomed UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU on July 1 and will play as a 14-team league for the 2023-2024 academic year.

In July 2022, Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said the conference was “open for business” when it came to expansion. 

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In an interview on “BYU Sports Nation” in June, Yormark said he would ideally like to keep the conference at 14 teams but would be OK with 12.

“I do think there’s strength in numbers, but if we end up being at 12, that’s great,” Yormark said. “I’d like to stay at 14, even with the departures of Texas and Oklahoma, candidly. We’ll see if that’s a possibility or not, but I love 12. I love the current makeup moving forward. In fact, I’m thrilled with it.”

“We’re not chasing a number. Again, whatever happens, has to truly create value for the conference and fit within those guiding principles with respect to how we’re thinking about expansion. But it’s not so much a number that we’re thinking about. It’s really about that fit, and I think that’s critically important.”

The move for Colorado comes as the football program has put itself back in the spotlight with the hire of Deion Sanders as head coach.

Sanders has gone about rebuilding the roster by way of the transfer portal, adding 50 players via the portal, according to the On3 Transfer Portal rankings.

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