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Pac-10 announces addition of Colorado; Is Oklahoma State next?
3:51 p.m. Update
Well, throw another wrinkle into the fire. KUsports.com's Tom Keegan has reported that Lew Perkins will resign at the end of next school year.
The timing of this announcement, although curious, may very well be good news for Kansas in terms of conference realignment. This is purely opinion, but there's no way that Perkins would step down without knowing that KU was going to be taken care of in all this mess. He loves the university too much to do that and KU officials need his influence too greatly to force him to do so.
It should be interesting to see where we go from here. To say the least.
More to come.
2:52 p.m. Update
Warning: Fasten your seat belts!!!
KCTV 5 in Kansas City is reporting that Texas and Texas A&M are petitioning to join the Big Ten, while Oklahoma is petitioning to work its way into the SEC.
Read the full report here.
Needless to say, should there be any truth to any of this, it would be outstanding news for KU as well as Kansas State, who likely then could work their way into the Pac-10. That's all speculation, for now, though.
More to come.
2:33 p.m. Update
Here's the latest from Kansas State, thanks to KTKA 49, our sister station in Topeka.
Still awaiting any kind of reaction from KU officials. For now, though, here's the word from K-State:
Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz told 49 News on Thursday that he was sorry to see Colorado leave the Big 12 Conference.
Out of town and speaking by phone to 49 News Manhattan bureau reporter Lindsey Elliott, Schulz said he had heard rumors of a possible Colorado departure for awhile. He said he was sorry to see them go but wished them the best of luck.
Schulz told Elliott that, although he had no specific knowledge of it, he believed Nebraska would announce its departure from the Big 12 for the Big Ten on Friday.
As for the remaining schools, Schulz said he was confident that they would remain in the Big 12.
1:21 p.m. Update
Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe just released his first statement on Colorado's departure:
"The Big 12 Conference has been informed that the University of Colorado has accepted an invitation to join the Pacific-10 Conference. I continue to work through the process that was agreed upon last week by our Board of Directors to address membership issues, and am working tirelessly towards the long-term viability of the Big 12."
More to come.
1:06 p.m. Update
A source in the Oklahoma State athletic department has told The Oklahoman that Oklahoma State is ready to become the next team from the Big 12 to accept an invitation from the Pac-10.
The source told The Oklahoman that it's a "done deal," and that it's "just a matter of time."
An announcement could come as early as today.
Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that indicate that Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton has been in contact with University of Texas officials to discuss Colorado's move to the Pac-10.
It now appears that, by the end of the day, we could have a good idea of how many of the Big 12 teams invited by the Pac-10 would be willing to go. Right now, all signs point to all six of them — Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech — being ready and willing to jump ship.
Kansas University athletic officials said around 11:30 a.m. that they did not yet have a comment on this news but that one may come later today.
A call to the KU chancellor's office has yet to be returned.
Stay logged on to KUsports.com for more information as it becomes available. And hold on to your hats.
11:25 a.m. Update
So much for an announcement from Colorado. The Pac-10 Conference has announced that Colorado has agreed to leave the Big 12 and join the Pac-10.
More on this later, but it appears that Colorado now officially can call Arizona, Cal, Stanford and UCLA its conference brothers.
Here's the official release from Pac-10 headquarters:
The Pacific-10 Conference announced today that the University of Colorado at Boulder has accepted an invitation to join the Conference as its 11th member, the first new member since July 1, 1978.
"This is an historic moment for the Conference, as the Pac-10 is poised for tremendous growth. The University of Colorado is a great fit for the Conference both academically and athletically and we are incredibly excited to welcome Colorado to the Pac-10," said Commissioner Larry Scott.
"On behalf of The University of Colorado students, faculty, alumni and fans, we are proud to accept this invitation from the Pac-10 and join the most prestigious academic and athletic conference in the nation," said Philip P. DiStefano, chancellor of CU-Boulder.
"The University of Colorado is a perfect match - academically and athletically - with the Pac-10," said University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson, "our achievements and aspirations match those of the universities in the conference and we look forward to a productive relationship."
Commissioner Scott, Chancellor DiStefano, President Benson, CU Board of Regents Chairman Steve Bosely and CU Athletics Director Mike Bohn and others will hold an official press conference at noon on Friday at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo.
10:32 a.m. Update
Well, that didn't take long.
Multiple media organizations are now reporting that Colorado will make an announcement that it has accepted an offer to join the Pac-10 in the next day or two.
ESPN's Joe Schad is reporting that Colorado will announce that it has accepted an invitation from the Pac-10 at 11 a.m. Central today. That's 10 a.m. Mountain time, which shows, in no small way, how eager the Buffs were to make this move. The Boulder Daily Camera reports that the announcement will come at 11 a.m. Mountain time on Friday.
Regardless of the discrepancy in the time frame, the reports appear to be solid. If this holds true, that's two Big 12 North teams gone in two days and that puts the future of the Big 12 in peril.
More to come.
9:40 a.m. Update
Now that Nebraska has hinted that it intends to bolt for the Big Ten — a fact confirmed across the country by dozens of sources and expected to be announced officially on Friday — the rest of the Big 12 Conference enters into full-on scramble mode.
Some, like Texas, are sitting pretty and know it. There's no shortage of conferences who would love to add the Longhorns and the Longhorns know it. So their sense of scrambling is more about sitting back and picking where they want to end up.
Others, like Kansas and Kansas State, are forced to use every number in the Rolodex to try to find out if there's somewhere they can land. My gut feeling is that there will be. Conversations with multiple sources over the last few days lead me to believe that KU will land in a major conference when all of this is over. Which one remains to be seen, however, and there's still a lot that has to happen before we know for sure.
With that in mind, let's move on to what we do know. Here's an early look at today's rumblings from around the conference.
• It seems that Colorado University already has received an invite to the Pac-10, a move that shocks absolutely nobody. There was some speculation that the recent news of Colorado's failing APR scores would hurt the Buffs in their quest to crawl into a conference with the likes of academic super powers Stanford and Cal, but that, evidently, is not the case. Several folks are reporting that CU has received an offer to head west and if those reports are true Colorado is as good as gone.
• While sources are indicating that CU has a firm invitation, others are reporting that invitations for five other Big 12 schools are not far behind. ESPN.com's Ted Miller reports that a source familiar with the negotiations has said that Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all could receive Pac-10 invitations in the near future. That, clearly, would lead to the end of the Big 12 as we know it and would put the pressure on the five schools that remain — Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor — to find a quick solution.
• One of the more interesting wrinkles to come out of all of this is the stance of Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, who has been an avid supporter of the Big 12 throughout the past two weeks. Castiglione told the Tulsa World on Wednesday that he did not believe the Big 12 was dead and that he hoped the league could survive, even if that meant moving forward as an 11- or 10-member conference. In the end, however, Castiglione conceded that Oklahoma, which has garnered plenty of interest from the SEC in recent weeks, would do whatever it takes to stick with Texas. Texas, sources say, has been exploring a way out of the Big 12 and into the Pac-10 since January, so, like it or not, it looks as if the Sooners could be Pac-10 bound.
• If that becomes true, then the best-case scenario for Kansas — especially now that it might not be able to talk the Pac-10 out of Colorado — would be to hope for further expansion from the conference on the west coast, something our own Tom Keegan outlined in his Thursday column.
• The kicker in all of this, at least as of 9:40 a.m. on Thursday, is that Nebraska officials are denying that the Big Red to the Big Ten is a done deal. Don't believe it. It's easy to deny something on the basis that nothing has yet been made official. But doing so does not mean that it's not true. It simply gives the powers that be at NU a false sense of power and security to believe that this thing is happening on their terms. It's not. But if the Big Ten is where the Huskers want to be then they'd do well to hurry up and make it official. After all, if Notre Dame were to come to the table today ready to sign on the dotted line, that could trump Nebraska's "unofficial" plans and leave the Huskers in a world of hurt.
More to come throughout the day.