FORT COLLINS — Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker planned a six-day August vacation to visit family when the college football world turned upside down.
The looming departure of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC opened the door for another round of Big 12 expansion. Parker was determined to make the case for CSU.
“Every one of those days I was on the phone for two to four hours,” Parker said. “A lot of those conversations are connecting with people that I’ve worked with in the past and have 20-year relationships. … That first several weeks was just trying to information gather and understand.”
It didn’t pan out.
On Friday, several national media outlets reported the Big 12 is expected to add four schools as early as next week: BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. Parker acknowledged CSU is not in those immediate discussions.
However, the Rams are not done exploring options outside the Mountain West moving forward.
“If some of the moves that have been anticipated may happen as early as next week, that’s probably not the final move all together,” Parker said. “Will other (Power) Fives decide that they want to take an opportunity for growth? I think that’s still a possibility.”
Parker outlined a variety of reasons why CSU is ready for major college football, including the strength of Denver’s TV market, availability of games played in the Mountain Time Zone and the shine of Canvas Stadium. But there is one major variable holding CSU back — producing a consistent winner.
The Rams entered their season opener against South Dakota State on Friday night with an 8-20 record over their previous three seasons.
“You see the logical picks that might be shaping up and it’s been all about success on the football field,” Parker said. “That’s the one thing that we don’t have at the immediate moment to share with people.”
Parker indicated that CSU’s potential decision to leave the Mountain West won’t necessarily be made in conjunction with other members of the league.
“Everyone has a fiduciary responsibility to their institution. If you get a tap on the shoulder, you’ve got to turn around and have the conversation,” Parker said. “At the same time, you want to honor what you have. It’s not that we’d be trying to escape something. It’s rather we’re trying to move to something that could be a much more positive environment for our athletic teams and fan base.”
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