Colorado chancellor on Deion Sanders turning around the football program: ‘The biggest story in sports’
The University of Colorado’s athletic department has undergone its fair share of big changes over the past several months. Colorado decided to part ways with the Pac-12 Conference and become a part of the Big 12, and NFL legend Deion Sanders was named the head coach of the football team in December.
Phil DiStefano, Colorado’s chancellor, was at the helm during all the university’s recent changes. This week, he described the Buffaloes 2-0 start and all the attention that Sanders has brought to the university as “the biggest story in sports.”
Some have questioned Colorado’s decision to go all-in with Sanders, but DiStefano is happy the university has taken the approach.
“Yeah, I think for this first year, why not?” DiStefano told USA Today Sports before the Buffaloes home opening win over Nebraska. “I mean, it’s the biggest story in sports, not only in college sports. In sports. So why not?”
DiStefano was appointed to the University of Colorado’s chancellor in 2009, and part of his responsibilities include overseeing the school’s athletics. The football team only managed to win one game last season, but when Sanders has arrived, he began using the transfer portal at an unprecedented clip to turn over the roster.
Sanders’ decisions are paying dividends so far as the football team has already doubled its win total from a year ago and enters this weekend’s matchup against as considerable favorites over Colorado State.
The Buffaloes’ home opener was sold out, and the first two games have drawn impressive viewership as fans across the country tuned in to watch Coach Prime’s team.
Even before the season kicked off, the university seemed to be betting that Sanders would become an attractive draw. The school filed a commercial showcasing its campus as a “prime” place to be with “Coach Prime” leading the football program.
DiStefano also makes an appearance in the advertisement, noting that the school is in located in a “prime” area partly due to the mountains providing a scenic backdrop.
Sanders has also expressed his desire to drive up enough revenue for the school to re-establish its baseball program. Colorado’s baseball program stopped operating in 1980 due to cost-cutting needs.
“I have no idea,” DiStefano said. “There are a lot of sports. Baseball. We gave up wrestling. We gave up swimming. I think it’s up to the AD if we are going to add, what are the priorities?”