Brooks: Beebe Hints At Buffs' Exit To Pac-10 By 2011
IRVING, Texas - If the Big 12 Conference and its pair of exiting members agree on anything, it's this: All want the departures to be amicable and ASAP.
From all appearances, the front end of that wish - the amicable part - seemed to be underway here Tuesday as the Colorado contingent arrived for what likely is the Buffs' last round of preseason Big 12 media briefings. By this time next summer, CU's surroundings could be dramatically different.
And as for getting out of the Big 12 ASAP, no less authority than Commissioner Dan Beebe sounded as if he and the movers/shakers at his level are working hard to make it happen.
Addressing the media Tuesday afternoon, Beebe alluded to the "disappointment about the departure of two very, very quality institutions" and his "regret that I won't get to (work with them) after this year."
He was referring to Nebraska's impending bolt from the Big 12 to the Big Ten and CU being poised to jump to the Pac-10 - moves that the pair of institutions and three leagues involved would like to see transpire in time for the 2011 football season.
The Cornhuskers plan to begin Big Ten competition season after this, but the Buffs can't be sure about their start date in the Pac-10 until details of the switch are resolved. The Pac-10, which is conducting its first round of preseason media days in New York and the second later this week on the West Coast, is hopeful of its two newest members - CU and Utah - also being able to begin football competition in 2011.
Beebe appears fairly confident that it can happen. He said CU and the Big 12 remain engaged in "private discussions" about "transition issues . . . I know it's Colorado's interest to try to move on along with Utah into the Pac-10. It's in our interest to move on.
"I don't think it helps anybody to linger in a lame duck status - if you're on their side or our side."
The transition issues - the biggest of which will be the amount of money CU and Nebraska owe the Big 12 - will be addressed in "very short fashion, and probably in the early fall (we'll) be able to conclude what we're going to do," Beebe said.
He added that exit costs will be "resolved fairly quickly. We have by-laws that address it, that all of the members when the conference was formed agreed to, in the form of liquidated damages or withdrawal fees for those institutions that may depart.
"And we'll have full discussion about the meaning of those by-laws and whether there's any type of consideration for different application than what is written specifically in our constitution and handbook."
Future exit penalties - whether to keep them status quo or make them stiffer - for Big 12 members that might seek other conference affiliation will be fully discussed at the board level, Beebe said.
"I think I will bring to the board later this year whether we should review having more stringent fees or whether what we have is sufficient," Beebe said.
The cost of CU leaving the conference has been reported to be anywhere from $9 to $20 million. League and school officials thus far have declined to specify what the conference switch might cost.
Other topics addressed by Beebe included:
- Big 12 expansion - The conference might entertain regional suitors, "but right now there's no affirmative interest by our members in expanding whatsoever," he said. "There's so much excitement about continuing with the round-robin in football . . . and the double round-robin in basketball and other sports, that I think that's going to carry the day for the foreseeable future."
- 16-team super-conferences - Admitting his bias, Beebe believes leagues with more than 12 members are unwieldy, difficult to govern and "not of benefit to college sports."
- Conference revenue sharing - Had new Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott's grand plan been successful, the Big 12 would have lost (in addition to CU) Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. When those schools elected to stay put, the Big 12 was saved. But there has been grumbling about how league revenue will be split. "The fact of the matter is that everybody understands it and they agreed to go forward with it the way it is," Beebe said. "Frankly, what was kind of ironic about this is one of the conferences that posed the most risk of taking most of our members share money, share their revenue, even more disproportionately than we do."
NEW CU FACES: Receiver Travon Patterson, a transfer from Southern California, and defensive lineman Dakota Poole will be among the players who report on Aug. 4 for physicals, meetings, the issuing of equipment, etc.
Since coming to Colorado, Patterson has been living with senior receiver Scotty McKnight, who gushed over Patterson's speed and was eager to see him perform in practice. Patterson was among USC's smaller (5-9, 175) receivers but also one of the fastest.
In 2009, Patterson caught three passes for eight yards, ran twice for 15 yards and fair-caught three punts. But impressive spring practices might have brought an expanded role this fall for the Trojans.
He is immediately eligible at CU due to the NCAA granting USC juniors and seniors that privilege due to recent sanctions levied against the USC football program.
Poole, from Kelowna, B.C., is a 6-5, 250-pounder who "can really run," according to coach Dan Hawkins. Although still raw, Poole's first look will be on defense, but he could wind up at offensive tackle.
TAKE ME OUT TO . . . : Hawkins, McKnight, offensive tackle Nate Solder and cornerback Jalil Brown - CU's player representatives at Big 12 media days on Wednesday - attended a Texas Rangers game Tuesday night. Hawkins set it up through Clint Hurdle, the former Rockies manager who now is the Rangers hitting coach.
IT JUST ADDS UP: The Big 12 will have 10 teams, the Big Ten will have 12 teams. There is no current plan for name changes, although Beebe joked Tuesday, "Yeah, I'm in communication with (Big Ten) Commissioner Jim Delany now about a swap."
On the other hand, once CU and Utah come aboard the Pac-10 will become the Pac-12. The impending name change was announced on the conference's website, with Commissioner Larry Scott confirming the change will occur once the Buffs and Utes begin competition.
The league already has unveiled its new logo, which has a mountain prominent in the new design and according to the website, "reflects the geographic expansion depicting the beauty and energy of the West, from the mountains to the ocean . . ."
BUFF BITS: CU's most recent depth chart (July 26) lists Andre Simmons behind Will Jefferson in the X wide receiver grouping . . . . McKnight said the foot he injured during spring drills "is no problem at all now." The senior also said he is in his best shape ever . . . . Solder was introduced Tuesday afternoon to Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys personnel guru now with NFL.com. Brandt told Solder, a left tackle, that "lots of money" awaits him if Solder plays to his potential this season. Brandt also counseled Solder, McKnight and Brown about illicit contact with agents . . . . The Buffs' tentative practice schedule has Aug. 5 as the first day on the field, Aug. 7 as the first day of two-a-days, Aug. 9 as the first day in pads and Aug. 12 as the first scrimmage. All practices through Aug. 12 are open to the public.