BOULDER, Colo. — There are questions about the future of CU Boulder's football program now that USC and UCLA have decided to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten. The departure could be devastating for the conference and for the schools in it.
"The Pac-12 isn't what it used to be," said Darrin Duber-Smith, a senior lecturer at Metropolitan State University. "Their media right deal didn't go well. Pac-12 network hasn't gone well. Pac-12 hasn't been a powerful conference. It lost its influence."
Duber-Smith teaches sports marketing at Metropolitan State University in Denver. He said this decision by the California schools is all about money.
"Financially it's a hugely more lucrative deal to go into the Big Ten," he said. "It's no doubt these schools are chasing the revenue which I think they have to do."
But losing two powerhouse teams in Los Angeles – the second largest TV market in the country – could hurt the other schools in the Pac-12, including CU Boulder.
"I think CU needs to look at keeping the conference strong and not signaling that they are going to leave, but at the same time they have to be open to other options," said Duber-Smith. "If they get an invitation to a conference that is more powerful than the Pac-12, you know, they would probably have to look at that."
Duber-Smith said that invitation from the Big Ten may be unlikely for Colorado.
But the Buffs also offer Denver's TV market and a reunion with their rival, Nebraska.
"It is not in the fans coming in. It is in the TV revenue. So if you are not maximizing that I think you are getting left behind," said Duber-Smith.
USC and UCLA want to leave a conference that's struggling, which is making some wonder what that could mean for the schools left behind.
"Who are you going to replace them with? What are you going to replace them with? Who is going to come in?" he said.
CU's chancellor and athletic director released a statement shortly after the announcement, calling it a disappointment. They have been working with other schools and conference leadership as this situation continues to develop.
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