All it took was 1 university president to get a good look under the hood and realize the Pac-12 is dead.

Colorado made the first official move Thursday, announcing it would leave the Pac-12 for the Big 12, beginning in 2024. Now there’s only 1 question remaining.

How quickly do other schools follow — and how long before the Pac-12 is no longer a Power 5 conference?

“Everything is now in the Big 12’s court,” an industry source told Saturday Out West. “If they want to further expand West, that’s going to be a big problem for the Pac-12.”

Because further Big12 expansion will eventually lead to Big Ten expansion.

An industry source told Saturday Tradition last month that the Big Ten doesn’t want to be seen as the reason the Pac-12 is no longer viable. But if multiple teams leave for the Big 12 and destabilize the Pac-12, Oregon and Washington become legitimate targets for Big Ten expansion.

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has publicly said the league plans to stop expanding at 14 schools. The addition of Colorado in 2024 puts the Big 12 at 13, and leaves 3 of the Four Corner schools vying for the last spot.

Or maybe it doesn’t.

While the big problem for the Pac-12 is the lack of a solid media rights deal, there’s 1 other issue the Arizona schools and Utah are underestimating: Yormark’s fascination with UConn.

That’s right, UConn.

Yormark believes there is value in men’s basketball in future media rights deals, and the Big 12 already has a loaded basketball league. Adding UConn would make it that much stronger.

How much longer will the remaining 3 Four Corner schools (Arizona, Arizona State, Utah) wait for Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff to bring home a media rights deal that’s close to the Big 12’s projected numbers?

Make no mistake, Colorado doesn’t leave the Pac-12 unless there is a clear and significant difference in the revenue it can earn in the Big 12. They’re not leaving the Pac-12 for an extra million a year, or even an extra $5 million.

They’re leaving because after a year of blowing through drop-dead dates for a new media rights deal, the Pac-12 still doesn’t have one — and whatever Kliavkoff is selling about any potential deal isn’t a winning proposition.

Colorado is leaving because an industry source told Saturday Out West that the Big 12 told Colorado and the other Four Corner schools its annual media rights deal would reach the mid-$30 million range, and potentially as high as low-$40s after NCAA tournament units are factored in.

Because Yormark negotiated a pro rata agreement into the media rights deal, whoever the Big 12 adds in expansion will get the same amount of media rights revenue as the current 2024 lineup.

That means the potential of $40-42 million annually is still there for the remaining Four Corner schools — while Kliavkoff continues to search for a deal.

This mess began a year ago for the Pac-12, when Kliavkoff’s initial proposal to ESPN, one industry source told Saturday Out West, was $500 million annually for exclusive rights to the 10 schools.

Or $50 million annually per school.

“An absurd proposal,” the industry source said. “They weren’t negotiating from a position of strength. Their 2 biggest properties were gone, and they wanted a significant increase.”

But it should come as no surprise that the Pac-12 fumbled the first opportunity with ESPN, and couldn’t read the room when it came to Fox, which was spending billions on the Big Ten and Big 12. The conference has been bumbling and stumbling — no matter the commissioner — since the first round of conference expansion more than a decade ago.

Former commissioner Larry Scott refused to see long-term value in a deal with DirecTV for the fledgling Pac-12 Network, unless it was at his asking price. Failing to land that deal was his biggest mistake.

Kliavkoff failed to see the value in an exclusive deal with ESPN, unless it was at his asking price. He has publicly spoke of new and bountiful ways consumers can watch live sports, and that there are numerous options for the Pac-12.

So while the Big 12 took its minimum $32 million per school deal from ESPN and Fox, the Pac-12 held out for more. Now look: the market is flush with live sports content, the money is gone and the Pac-12 is talking to mid-tier linear producers (Ion Television, The CW, USA Network) and streaming sites (Apple, Amazon) while the product is the best it has been in years.

ESPN, another industry source told SOW, would take a late night window of Pac-12 games — but only at a bargain price for the 12-13 weeks of games.

This is what the Pac-12 presidents are waiting for. This is what Kliavkoff has spent the entire summer chasing, after the original deadline by conference presidents to have a deal in place was late spring.

But are we really surprised? It was Kliavkoff who 18 months ago locked hands with the Big Ten and ACC to form an “Alliance” of “similar minds” to fend off the alleged growing appetite of the big, bad SEC.

He then got duped by former Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and lost his 2 biggest media properties, USC and UCLA. Those were the 2 schools that could’ve allowed him to walk to the table and demand $500 million from ESPN for 12 teams — and get it.

But there was Kliavkoff last week at Pac-12 Media Day, declaring that realignment “will come to an end for this cycle” and that the league had “bigger fish to fry.”

Six days later, the Colorado board of trustees voted to leave for the Big 12 in 2024.

Everything is in the Big 12’s court now. And there may only be 1 seat left.