Colorado to Join the Pac-10 Teleconference Transcription

June 10, 2010

  • Audio of Media Teleconference

    Opening Statement from Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott
    This is a very exciting day for the Pac-10 and on behalf of our Membership in particular our Board of Directors (Presidents and Chancellors) just thrilled to be welcoming the University of Colorado with such a proud athletic and academic tradition to this Conference.  Pac-10's got a very bright future and Colorado is a tremendous fit academically as well as athletically. 

    Statement from CU-Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano of University of Colorado
    On behalf of the University of Colorado, Boulder, our students, our faculty, our alumni, and our fans, we are proud to accept this invitation from the Pac-10 and join the most prestigious athletic and academic Conference in the nation.  I am very proud of our previous association with the Big 12.  The Big 12 had certainly engendered some great rivals and fantastic athletic competitions across a number of sports.  We are just very privileged to be with Pac-10 in both athletics and academics.  

    Statement from Colorado President Bruce Benson
    I would just like to express on behalf of many many citizens from the state of Colorado including the Governor how extremely excited we all are about joining this Conference.  We look at it as a real class Conference.  You are judged by who you are associated with and we want to be associated with the Pac-10 because it is such a great Conference.  This is saying nothing against the Big 12, some of us have very strong loyalties to the Big 12 just from spending time and going to school here when it was the Big 8 and then the Big 12.  But we know it was time for a change and this is the exact perfect place for us to go.  Yesterday the Governor signed into law legislation that allows us now to attract more international students at the University of Colorado, Boulder and I think it is critical that we continue to do that, and if you look at the numbers that you have in the Big 12, this is the exact direction we are going.  Just would like to point out that I am the President of a four campus system here and Phil DiStefano runs the Boulder campus with 30,000 students and so its really his campus, but I am over all of these pieces.  We have Chancellors and Presidents up-side-down in many places and I just want to clarify how we operate in Colorado.  Thank you very much and its a wonderful opportunity for us.  

    On why Colorado was chosen first in expansion...
    Larry Scott: 'We have been looking at Colorado for quite some time.  We have been through a pretty exhaustive and deliberate process and it was clear to us that in any scenario we were going to consider for expansion Colorado was a great fit.  Coming out of our Board meeting last weekend, there are several different scenarios that can pan out, but in every single scenario Colorado made sense for us so there was no reason for us to wait any further.  Looking forward to being with you John, and your colleagues tomorrow in Boulder.   

    On how much the Conference has gained even if no other teams are added...
    L.S.: 'Under any circumstances we are thrilled that Colorado is going to be a part of our Conference. There are still a number of different scenarios that can play out and it would be premature to comment further.'

    Are there any assurances that the other five Big 12 schools will come join the Pac-10...
    L. S.: 'No invitations have been issued. There are still many different scenarios that we may or may not pursue.  There is no defined timetable. I am authorized to pursue several different scenarios.' 

    On if there is any buy out penalty Colorado will need to pay for leaving the Big 12...
    Bruce D. Benson.: 'We don't know what the penalty would be or if there would be a penalty at this point. If there was, we would discuss that with the Pac-10 to help finance that penalty then pay that back with other revenues.'

    Has there been any discussion that you will need to forgo revenues from the Big 12?
    B.B.: 'That is something we really haven't discussed with the Big 12.' 

    When is this move supposed to officially be made?
    L.S.: 'The intention is that it would start in 2012, for all sports at the same time.' 

    On if there has been any talk on Colorado adding any sports to join the Conference...
    L.S.: 'There is no requirement that they add any sports, but we have discussed that the profile of sports that are offered are compatible. We have discussed adding baseball or softball but there is no contingency.' 

    On what will be the Pac-10's next move...
    L.S:'We are evaluating different options and waiting to see what may evolve nationally before we decide what we are doing next.' 

    On what this move will cost Colorado...
    Phil P. DiStefano: 'We haven't worked out the financial plan yet. What we have to see is what is the penalty from the Big 12 and how we can work with the Pac-10 to see about possible upfront financing but we haven't worked out all the details yet.' 

    On what other teams the Pac-10 is looking to add...
    L.S.: 'I don't think we can comment on that until we see what we can happen over the next few weeks.' 

    On when making this invitation was first made...
    L.S.: 'There were some informal discussions, but the first formal contact was on Tuesday, after the Regents meeting where we sat down and talked and then the Pac-10 issued a formal invitation.' 

    On any worries that Denver is mostly a professional sports market...
    L.S.: 'People have said that about Pac-10 cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco. I think it is quite compatible in that case.' 

    On the academic implications of the move to the Pac-10...
    P.D.: 'From our standpoint, our faculty, when they do joint research projects, have been doing many those projects with faculty from Pac-10 institutions.  We have done work with faculty from Stanford, Berkeley, of course Washington, Arizona Arizona State and Oregon, so our faculty will feel very positive about our new partnership with the Pac-10 since they do many collaborative projects together. '

    On if Colorado will continue having faculty fellowships at other Conference schools...
    P.D.: 'That was something that occurred in the Big 12, to have faculty exchanges. We could do that in the Pac-10, but would be something that I would have to talk to the Presidents and Chancellors about, but it hasn't been discussed yet.'

    On if the Pac-10 could stay as an 11 team Conference...
    L.S.: 'That is a possibility. I received authority from our Presidents and Chancellors to explore several different options that would be acceptable, and this is one.' 

    On the challenging of scheduling with so many schools...
    L.S.: 'Without commenting on any specifics, we have looked very carefully at sport schedules on a sport by sport basis, very much with the welfare of the student-athletes in mind and a focus on missed class time and we are determined through the use of divisions and creative scheduling that any of these expansion, even the most extreme ones, do not result in significantly greater travel distances nor more missed class time.  That is a very important priority for our Board and I know Colorado agrees with that.' 

    On what would be needed for more teams to be added...
    L.S.: 'Not going to comment on any specifics or what would trigger invitations.' 

    On having more schools affecting travel and class time...
    L.S.: 'We are looking at division scenarios if we go to a bigger conference footprint to ensure that travel distance across all our sports wouldn't impact class time.' 

    On the scheduling and division differences amongst sports...
    L.S.: 'In the Pac-10 schools are known for a broad-based sports, with some even playing in the Mountain Pacific Sports Conference, so undoubtedly, it would be a sport by sport scenario.' 

    On Colorado making this move...
    B.B.: 'I think this is something that has been rumored around for awhile and joining the Pac-10 was in the interest of the University of Colorado and for the people of the state of Colorado. I'm a businessman, so don't tarry, make your decision and move on.'

    On how quickly things may fall into place...
    L.S.: 'I cannot predict what kind of timing we may see here.' 

    On if he expected movement to happen this quickly...
    L.S: 'To a degree yes. Because when we met, there was a deadline that had been given to the Big 12 members, so we knew there would be a flurry around the same time.' 

    On when the idea of expansion was first discussed...
    L.S.: 'I think it is complicated set of issues. Since December when the Big 10 announced their intention to expand, this has been a really hot topic. Teams and schools have been thinking of their destination for awhile now.' 

    On the financial implications of expansion...
    L.S.: 'Financial considerations have been a part of a much broader consideration set. We recently hired Creative Artist Agency, largest entertainment agency in the and one of areas is media advisory. They were hired with the expressed purpose of helping us analyze the market and doing some modeling in some areas.  That was a key piece that was reviewed by our Presidents and Chancellors, which factored into the authorization I was given to pursue different scenarios. We have a good sense that any decisions we make are grounded in sound financial analysis and our members will be better off.' 

    On the Pac-10 presidents' relationships with Big 12 presidents... 
    L.S.: 'In general, in terms of our Presidents and Chancellors, they have been very engaged in this process for sometime. They are clearly overseeing the process and authorized the different directions that we have taken. I sense there are very strong relationships, very collegial relationships amongst the presidents between our two conferences.' 

    On the continuation of the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series...
    L.S.: 'We are contracted to go another couple of years.  Obviously, if that gets a fresh look then we will take a look, but we certainly plan to continue with our Hardwood Series with the Big 12.  ' 

    On if this move is going to make things difficult in the Big 12 for the next two years...
    B.B:'In talking to Dan Beebe a couple of Presidents and Chancellors, we certainly have a long standing relationship and I think we can work well together for the next two years until we move officially to the Pac-10.'

    On how this idea of expansion came about and the expectation of it occurring so quickly...
    L.S.: 'First let me say our presidents and chancellors really have a bold vision for what the Pac-10 can be going forward. I think its based on that they asked me to join as someone outside intercollegiate athletics with a deep experience in professional sports Media and marketing matters as well as someone who dealt with the welfare of athletes as I oversaw the players association for both men's and women's tennis in addition of being in charge of some commercial areas.  The vision ultimately for being proactive and innovative and being a leader in terms of the national landscape of college athletics going forward stems from the vision of our presidents and chancellors. The way I have interpreted that and carried has been tied to our contractual relationships and the fact that in 2011 we will start negotiations for our future media contracts. Lately, those media contracts have tended to be for very long periods of time.  I realize this upcoming media negotiation is of paramount importance in terms of the resources our schools will have available and in terms of the competitive landscape as between Conferences going forward. It is within that context that we thought about looking at expansion seriously.  We were on a time table of concluding that deliberation by the end of this year, so we would be done before our negotiations started, but we are authorized to act quicker if there were scenarios that developed so we would be flexible and were prepared based on what our Membership would be acceptable to move earlier. And that is what happened here.' 

    On if the Conference is looking at a name and logo change...
    L.S.: 'Don't want to get the cart before the horse. From my standpoint, the name of the Conference, the brand and what it stands ought to reflect the Membership.  Until our deliberations are concluded of what the constitution of our membership is, we will not go about the process of thinking about the name and logo.'

    On if there are any other specific schools that are being discussed...
    L.S.: 'We have been through a thorough analysis of our options going forward. We have had very few conversations with schools individually.' 

    On if Colorado has had conversations with any other other Big 12 schools...
    B.B.: 'We have had no conversations with any of the presidents. Bill may have at the Big 12 meeting. Conferences change pretty regularly and we don't like leaving people behind.  I have a high regard and a high respect for the schools in the Big 12. It is a wonderful bunch of schools, but this is a better fit for us and I wish the remaining members of the Big 12 a lot of luck in the future.' 

    On this being the potential beginning of a super Conference....
    L.S.: 'That analysis hasn't factored into our decision making in any ways. '

    On having a Championship Football game in 2012...
    L.S.: 'I think that will be determined after this expansion related process is concluded. It would be premature to say for sure.  Under certain scenarios though, we would.'

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