‘07: WAC ‘Strongly Considered’ BYU Without FBall

In the aftermath of my report yesterday that BYU will decide whether or not to leave the Mountain West Conference by Sept. 1, KSL radio in Salt Lake City reports this morning:

BYU and UTEP WAC tournament game

BYU Associate Athletic Director Duff Tittle declined to comment on Internet rumor, but instead referred to earlier statements from Athletic Director Tom Holmoe saying BYU has been exploring all options and will continue.

Tuesday evening I reported that BYU is seriously considering departing the MWC to go independent in football and join the WAC in all other sports.

When asked about the possibility of welcoming BYU back to the WAC, conference commissioner Karl Benson said to the IDAHO STATESMAN Wednesday morning, “no comment.

But Benson wasn’t nearly as shy about his intentions to bring BYU back to the WAC on Nov. 8, 2007.

From a KFNZ-AM report out of Salt Lake City that day:

08 November 2007
WAC would “strongly consider” BYU without football

Karl Benson, the WAC Commissioner, just told 1320, K-Fan’s David Locke that “we would give strong consideration” to BYU’s other sports joining the WAC if they went Independent in Football.

Benson continues, “I would hope our Athletic Directors and Board of Directors would make the best business decision.”

Benson called BYU a “charter member of the WAC.”

Yesterday on 1320, K-FAN and www.thefansports.com, Locke revealed that BYU is losing in the range of 5 to 8 million dollars a year of potential revenue by keeping their football program in the Mountain West Conference.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel reported via Twitter Wednesday of BYU’s decision:

Apparently, BYU’s decision whether to go independent comes down to some sort of BCS guarantee.

As BYU and ESPN interests inevitably intersect in that regard, what’s the odds Bristol will influence on what direction BYU takes?

If ESPN’s role in Big 12 and Pac-10 realignment is any indication, it will.