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Saturday, September 11, 2010
Colorado expected to join Pac-10 in '12

Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott is pessimistic Colorado will be able to leave the Big 12 in time to join the conference before the start of the 2012 football season.

Scott spoke Saturday before the Buffaloes played at California in their first game against a Pac-10 opponent since announcing in June they were leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10.

Scott said Colorado officials told him negotiations with the Big 12 are ongoing over the buyout for leaving the conference a year early.

"The chances are worse than 50-50," Scott said. "I don't know how to rank it beyond that. At this stage, we're planning for them to come in 2012."

Utah is already set to join the Pac-10 next season. Scott said officials are finalizing plans on an 11-team football schedule if Colorado does not join next season. If the Buffaloes do join a year early, the conference is already working on the 12-team schedule for 2012 that could be implemented next season if necessary.

Scott hopes to have a resolution on Colorado's fate, as well as an agreement on a division split for football when the conference goes to 12 teams and a new revenue sharing model by the end of next month. The board of directors could vote on these issues at a meeting Oct. 21.

The issue of divisions and revenue sharing are tied together because under current conference rules, schools make more money if they appear on television more often. With Southern California and UCLA traditionally appearing on television more often that other programs, schools would prefer to be in a division with those schools because of increased revenues and more access to the fertile recruiting area near Los Angeles.

Scott said the conference is seriously considering about a half-dozen division alignments, including some that split USC and UCLA. There is a general consensus to maintain a nine-game conference football schedule, which will give all schools more access to the Los Angeles market.

Nine schools must agree on a change to the revenue-sharing model, while the division split will be decided by a simple majority. Scott said he does not expect the conversations to be contentious.

"Everyone will be much better off," he said. "The question is how much better off and how do certain schools compare to others. It's important to keep it in context. The members will see significant growth from where they are now. That affects the tenor of the conversation."

Scott said he does not see a need to split into divisions in other sports and that the conference will not change its name to the Pac-12 until Colorado joins, leaving the possibility that an 11-team conference will be called the Pac-10.

"We figured the Big Ten has gotten away with that for a while, we can get away with it for one year," he said.

Scott sensed the excitement this weekend from Colorado fans about their future. He spoke to a reception in San Francisco on Friday night in front of about a thousand Buffaloes fans and Colorado expected to have more than 7,000 fans at the game.

Scott said he saw plenty of people in Colorado clothes all weekend in the Bay Area.

"Today is a glimpse of what it will be like," Scott said. "Colorado fans, not just from the Bay Area, but across the country are very excited about this."