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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Commentary: Welcome to the Pac-11?

The University of Colorado at Boulder agreed last Thursday to leave the Big 12 conference to join the Pacific 10 conference, in what was supposed to be the first of six teams joining the Pac-10.

Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott seemed thrilled to add the Buffaloes to the “”conference of champions.””

“”We have been discussing expanding for a few years, and it was just the perfect time. The University of Colorado is just a perfect fit for the Pac-10,”” Scott said.

Why is Colorado such a “”perfect fit”” for the Pac-10 conference? The Buffs are not athletic juggernauts and would not increase revenue for the Pac-10 by themselves.

The University of Colorado has 20 national championships in its school history, 16 of which have come from skiing. With one football title in 1990, the Buffs football program has struggled lately, falling to a 3-9 record last season.

“”You’re judged by who you are associated with,”” said University of Colorado President Bruce Benson. “”We want to be associated with the Pac-10, because it’s such a great conference.””

Benson added that the school enjoyed its time in the Big 12, which created many wonderful traditions.

Using Benson’s thought process against him, why does the Pac-10 want to be associated with Colorado? The only time in recent memory that the University of Colorado has been in the press is because of a scandal. The Buffs were accused in 2004 of using alcohol and sex to lure potential football recruits to the school. Since then, they have had an abysmal record of 31-43.

Many believe the Pac-10 used Colorado as a ploy to get five other schools from the Big 12, including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M. But Texas decided on Monday to stay in the Big 12. Shortly after the announcement from Texas, the Big 12 received similar commitments from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.

Adding the Buffs to try and get the other schools to join was a big risk. There was no substantial evidence that all five schools would leave the Big 12; all anyone had were reports of rumors.

Staying in the Big 12 was the smartest decision for a school like Texas. The school will be able to earn the most money by staying in the Big 12. According to orangebloods.com, Texas will earn between $20 million and $25 million annually from a reworked television contract.

As far as competition is concerned, it was also smart for the Oklahoma and Texas schools to remain in the Big 12. If the Pac-10 got all six teams, the division would be split in half.

The Arizona schools, Colorado and the former Big 12 schools would compete against each other in one division. There would be no added competition to Texas or Oklahoma, because the Arizona schools would not be able to compete against them.

Since none of the other five schools will be joining the Pac-10, the expansion venture should be looked at as a failure, and that failure should fall on Scott’s head. There is no obvious benefit of adding Colorado to the Pac-10.

But Scott has been adamant that the conference is happy with adding Colorado and does not know what else will happen.

“”We, under any circumstances, we are thrilled to have the university of Colorado in our conference,”” Scott said. “”It would be premature to comment on any other possible situation.””

The Pac-10 did get some attention in the collegiate sports world, but that’s about the only thing it seemed to gain over the last couple weeks.

“”I think the Pac-10 has been talked more about in the last five days than we probably have across the country in years,”” said Greg Byrne, the UA’s Athletics Director. “”That’s a good thing for our brand, our identity as a league, and obviously that’s a good thing for the University of Arizona.””

When asked if there could be more additions to the conference after Colorado was added, Byrne said, “”It’s a definite maybe.””

The current Pac-10 schools will begin competition at the start of the 2012 football season. Scott said that only preliminary talks have begun with regard to scheduling.

The only thing that is guaranteed at this point is the Pac-10 has become the Pac-11. All of these rumors gave ESPN something to talk about for the past two weeks. Sure, all of these reports got fans of the Pac-10 excited, but at the end of the day all we got were the Buffs.

— Kevin Nadakal is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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