Denver Post: BYU Will Stay In Mountain West

Natalie Meisler of the DENVER POST reports numerous sources confirming this week  that BYU will remain in the Mountain West conference with an announcement coming as early as today. The Cougars had reportedly been contemplating taking their football program independent and moving all of their other sports programs to the WAC.

Report: BYU Staying in Mountain West

When contacted about the Post report, BYU associate athletic direct Duff Tittle told the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE: “nothing has changed on our front. We continue to review our options and search for ways to advance our athletic programs.”

Meisler noted that the immediate announcement was preferable to BYU as it would alleviate the conference alignment issue from becoming a distraction next week when the Cougars play Washington in football. Read more…

‘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. Read more…

Sources: BYU Bolting MWC Before September 1?

On July 31, venerable SALT LAKE DESERET NEWS columnist Dick Harmon made a compelling case that BYU would do well to leave the Mountain West Conference and go independent.

Will BYU football go independent?

With BYU’s MWC conference partner Utah gone to the Pac-10 and the school stuck in a TV deal worth a paltry $1.5 million per school - and no prospect of an immediate increase - Harmon reported that the Cougars were indeed seriously exploring that prospect.

One major reason behind the move would be existing television infrastructure available to BYU per its ministry broadcasting operation. Per Harmon, those assets include:

  • A state-of-the-art, high-definition TV studio near completion east of the Marriott Center on campus, one that will rival anything the networks have in media centers in Los Angeles and New York.
  • A high-definition TV truck for production and broadcast of sporting events. This truck is the most up-to-date found anywhere in the western United States and a tool ESPN would love to rent for events centered in the West.
  • BYU-TV, an up-and-operating station that is available on the basic entry platform of DirecTV and Dish Network and some 200 cable companies worldwide.
  • In the U.S. alone, this represents exposure to 60 million households and an estimated 40 million more in countries in South America.

For context, that infrastructure is light years ahead of what the Univ. of Texas, which will eventually launch its own cable channel, has in place. Then there’s this recent quote from BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe when asked about the school’s future conference affiliation:

“BYU’s been working on this for three years. We’re in an unusual position of being in the middle of things, but not on the internal area of things.

“Instead of being acted upon, we wanted to be proactive. On the other hand, we’re not Notre Dame. We can’t make demands, and we don’t have multiple invitations. So we try to make the best of this jigsaw puzzle and position ourselves now and for the future.”

Today I was told by a Salt Lake media source that BYU is indeed seriously pondering bolting the Mountain West conference. But the move would not be to go wholly independent. Read more…