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‘They’re back’: Colorado to join the Big 12 after 2023-24 season

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Photo Courtesy of the Big 12 Conference
New Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark. 

Colorado officially left the Pac-12 to join the Big 12 on Thursday.

The announcement came on the heels of rumors throughout the week about Colorado looking at rejoining the Big 12. Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark made a comment on possible expansion at Big 12 Media Days, but he kept it vague. The only thing he said to the world was, “We do have a plan.”

Yormark made the move official Thursday by issuing a simple two-word statement. “They’re back.”

“This great news for the Big 12 Conference would not have been possible without Commissioner Yormark’s vision as well as the hard work by former Commissioner Bowlsby in bringing BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston on board as members in 2023-24. The Big 12 brand has never been stronger, and I believe great days are ahead for our conference,” Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard said in a statement.

Colorado will finish out the 2023-24 season as part of the Pac-12 before moving to the Big 12. Colorado was originally a member of the conference before and during the creation of the Big 12.

During Colorado’s time in the early days of the conference, the Buffaloes held a rivalry with Iowa State.

“Iowa State is thrilled to welcome the University of Colorado back into the Big 12 Conference. The Cyclones and Buffaloes enjoyed a spirited rivalry for more than 60 years in the Big 7, Big 8 and early years of the Big 12, so we are excited to resume competing with them next year,” Pollard said in a statement.

Not only will Colorado bring competitive sports and rivalries to the Big 12, it brings a strong academic presence to the conference. When it came to looking for further expansion schools, Yormark wanted to find schools that fit everything the Big 12 stood for.

Yormark knew better than anyone what was on the horizon for the Big 12 and executed his plan.

“The University of Colorado shares Iowa State University’s commitment to excellence in academics, innovation and athletics, and we are pleased to have them rejoin the Big 12 conference,” Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement. “As a member of the Board of Directors executive committee, it is exciting to see the growth and strength of the Big 12, and I applaud Commissioner Yormark’s leadership and vision for the conference.”

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