CU Buffs will be part of Pac-12 “forever,” new league commissioner George Kliavkoff says

BOULDER — If new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has his druthers, the CU Buffs aren’t going anywhere. No matter how crazy the next round of college football realignment gets.

“I would say Colorado is firmly part of the Pac-12,” the new conference commissioner said Saturday morning at Folsom Field before the Buffs’ football team hosted Minnesota. “And will be forever.”

The 54-year-old Kliavkoff, flanked by CU athletic director Rick George, met with Front Range media for the first time. It was the new commissioner’s second trip to the Flatirons since he officially replaced Larry Scott on July 1.

Kliavkoff had met with CU athletic department staffers in September shortly before the Pac-12’s alliance with the Big Ten and ACC was announced.

“We’ve been running around meeting with donors and alumni and fans, and it’s just a beautiful, beautiful campus,” the commissioner said.

Kliavkoff reiterated the Pac-12’s position to refrain from expansion at this juncture, even as the SEC plucked Oklahoma and Texas and the Big 12 countered by adding BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston into its ranks.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported last week that TCU and Houston were “close” to being offered invitations to join the Pac-12. The league released a statement on Aug. 26 that it would “not pursue expansion of our membership at this time.”

“A lot of schools raised their hand and wanted to join the Pac-12,” Kliavkoff said Saturday of the Star-Telegram story. “None of the schools had more or less consideration. That (story) was a completely bogus report.”

The commissioner confirmed reports that the Buffs and other league schools will likely go to an “8-1-1” format for future football scheduling, with eight Pac-12 games and one game each featuring an opponent from the Big Ten and ACC. Men’s and women’s basketball schedules, Kliavkoff said, are likely to also feature mandated matchups with the Big Ten and ACC.

As for the expansion of the College Football Playoff, Kliavkoff said that “the fair thing to do is get feedback from all 12 of our schools before I publicly announce what our stance (is).”

Kliavkoff was hired in May to replace the outgoing Larry Scott on a five-year contract and a term that began on July 1.

Kliavkoff came to the Pac-12 from MGM Resorts International, where he had been president of entertainment and sports.

Previously, Kliavkoff had served as the first chief digital officer at NBCUniversal and as executive vice president for business with Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

While the Pac-12’s first two weeks of the college football season have been a mixed bag — Oregon beating Ohio State on the road; UCLA beating LSU at home; Washington losing at home to Montana — Kliavkoff joked that he hoped to bring good luck to the Buffs against the Gophers. The new commissioner was in attendance in Columbus, Ohio, to watch the Ducks’ victory and at the Rose Bowl for the Bruins’ victory over LSU.

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