By Jim Benemann

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– CBS4 has learned Colorado State University has survived the first cut as the Big 12 Conference seeks adding additional schools.

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Attrition has left the conference with just 10 institutions, and from an athletic standpoint, that’s left the Big 12 at a disadvantage as it tries to gets it conference football champion in the best possible bowl game every year.

A source close to the expansion discussions tells CBS4 that 18 universities expressed interest to the Big 12 in joining the conference. The Big 12 has now whittled that number to 6-8 schools.

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CBS4 has learned that besides CSU, the only other school from the Mountain West Conference still in the discussion is the Air Force Academy, and the Falcons would be considered as a “football only” member.

Colorado State has told the Big 12 that it is interested in joining only if all of the Ram sports teams are included.

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From here, the universities moving into Round Two of the expansion process will be invited to off-site meetings with Big 12 conference officials and representatives of member institutions. Things are moving along quickly. Those meetings should begin within the next week.