The Colorado board of regents has scheduled a special meeting Thursday with athletics operations on the agenda, ramping up speculation that the school is considering a return to the Big 12 from the Pac-12.
The board of regents for the Boulder-based school met on Wednesday and then scheduled another session to be conducted remotely, according to a posted notification.
Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark has spoken for months about his desire to expand the conference and add schools in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.
Meanwhile, the Pac-12 has seemed vulnerable to more poaching after losing USC and UCLA to the Big Ten the longer it takes for it to land a media rights contract to take effect next year. The conference’s current deals with ESPN and Fox expire after this school year.
The Big 12 has not formally announced a new media rights contracts, but last year it came to an agreement with ESPN and Fox on a six-year extension that runs through 2030-31.
Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff spoke confidently at football media days last week that the 10 remaining conference members were committed to stay together.
“What we’ve seen is the longer we wait for the media deal, the better our options get,” Kliavkoff said.
Colorado Chancellor Phil DiStefano told the Denver Post last week he was “eagerly awaiting” more details on the television negotiations.
The Pac-12 held a regularly scheduled board meeting Wednesday with its school presidents and a person familiar with the meeting said DiStefano did not notify his colleagues that Colorado was on the verge of making a decision on conference.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the conference was not speaking publicly about its internal operations.
The Pac-12 officially declined comment. Text messages to Kliavkoff and Colorado athletic director Rick George were not immediately returned.
An email to Yormark seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Colorado was an original member of the Big 12 in 1996, and joined the Pac-12 in 2011. The Buffaloes’ football teams has had only one winning record over a full season since joining the Pac-12, and went 1-11 last year — leading to the hiring of former NFL star Deion Sanders.