Let’s face it, football and money dictated the University of Colorado’s decision to bolt to the Pac-10 Conference.
I get the bottom line: CU will compete in a conference that jives more with its academics and campus environment. The University will make a boatload of money off future television deals, and the football team has a better chance to land blue chip California recruits.
But is this move a good thing for the basketball program?
I say yes. Here are my top three reasons why:
1. UCLA—The Bruins, in my opinion, have the most storied program in college basketball history. The school boasts 11 national championships and has appeared in the Final Four three of the last five years. What player would not want to play road games at historic Pauley Pavilion where John Wooden, the greatest basketball coach of all time, led his troops?
2. Recruiting—Tad Boyle brings recruiting ties with Texas and the Midwest to Boulder and he will need to maintain those relationships. But California is now seriously in play, and I think the west coast kids will love the opportunity to play in Boulder. With no close rivals in the Big 12, it didn’t make much sense for Cali kids to come to Boulder. Now those same athletes will have the opportunity to play road games at the following Pac-10 California schools: Cal-Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA and Southern California. And for those fringe players overlooked by the California schools and who want to stay in the Pac-10, Boulder is a sexier option than many other towns in the conference.
3. Marketing—Here’s a look at the markets in the Big 12 North, where Colorado has resided for more than a decade: Lawrence, Kan.; Manhattan, Kan.; Columbia, Mo.; Ames, Iowa; and Lincoln, Neb. Bluntly, there’s not much going on in those towns, and the television audiences do not provide a primetime stage…Needless to say, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle and Portland are much more attractive cities from a marketing point of view. The Buffs will garner greater exposure in these bigger markets. Chances are greater that alumni will spring for a plane ticket and a weekend stay in L.A.
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