Jay Drew and Tony Jones of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE report Wednesday:
Brigham Young University will leave the Mountain West Conference, go independent in football and rejoin the Western Athletic Conference in all non-football sports beginning in the fall of 2011, The Salt Lake Tribune confirmed Wednesday morning.
According to a source in the WAC office, BYU will seek final approval for the moves from its owner, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, either today or Thursday. Pending approval, a press conference is planned for early next week. But because of media reports that broke late Tuesday night, that timetable may change.
“In light of the media leaks, it may be expedited a bit,” the source told The Tribune.
One of those “leaks” was a report filed here Tuesday detailing the possibility.
Jared Eborn of the SALT LAKE DESERET NEWS also reports today:
A USU (Utah State) source familiar with the situation told the Deseret News Wednesday afternoon that the move should be announced in the next day or two.
“It will be a done deal probably on Thursday after the Quorum of the Twelve (Apostles) meets on Thursday,” the source said. “That’s the only thing holding it back right now.”
As I noted last night, BYU losing Utah as a conference partner and netting only $1.5 million in television revenue from the MWC annually were the primary reasons behind the move. Utah reportedly will clear $15 million per year in TV revenue when it becomes a fulltime member of the Pac-10.
BYU’s capacity to set up a cable sports channel, thanks to its ministry television operation, makes the process turn-key for the Cougars and allows the school to cut its own television rights deals with various networks.
Meanwhile, the Mountain West announced today on its official Twitter feed that it, “has extended an offer of membership to California State University, Fresno and the University of Nevada, Reno.“
In lieu of the Mountain West invitation, the FRESNO BEE has since reported:
Fresno State will announce this evening that it has accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Bee this afternoon.
The RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL had this official reaction to the MWC invitation from Nevada:
University of Nevada President Milton Glick said today that Nevada is considering an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference.
“We are honored to have received the invitation to join the Mountain West Conference,” Glick wrote in an news release. “We are seriously considering the invitation and do so with the best interests of our athletics program, university, community and Wolf Pack fans as our priority.”
Despite Nevada’s lack of confirmation, a Mountain West administration source told me today that the school will indeed accept the invitation of the MWC.
The same source has informed me that Boise State has no intention of returning to the WAC. It had been rumored in the past 48 hours that the Broncos were considering such action after BYU made clear it was departing the MWC.
Also, I was told today by a WAC official that Louisiana Tech and UTEP may be swapping conferences soon - with UTEP returning to the WAC and La. Tech joining Conference USA.
If it happens, the move would be made because of logistical considerations.
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