Worst Job In America? Wyoming Fires Hoops Coach

I’ve learned today that Heath Schroyer has been fired as head basketball coach at the University of Wyoming. The coach, who told his players of his ouster this afternoon in a team meeting, will be replaced for the balance of the season by associate head coach Fred Langley. Schroyer had three years on his contract remaining at a Mountain West-low $160,000 per season - all of which will be bought out by the school’s boosters.

Heath Schroyer Fired

(Wyoming: No Low Budget, High Expectations)

Schroyer departs after only 3 1/2 seasons and a 49-68 overall record at Wyoming. The coach was brought in by Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman primarily to clean up off-court and academic issues while keeping the underfunded Cowboys basketball program competitive in the Mountain West.

Schroyer achieved the former, upgrading the academic performance of Cowboy players significantly during his tenure while eliminating off-court behavior issues. But injuries to key players, including former MWC freshman of the year Afam Muojeke and highly-touted junior college prospect Luke Martinez, and a 2010-11 roster featuring only one senior has wreaked disaster on Wyoming’s record this season. (8-15, 1-8 in the Mountain West.) Read more…

SC AD Ponders Independence: ‘I think you have to’

Tuesday the BYU Cougars announced they were taking their football program independent and moving all other sports to the West Coast Conference.

Pat Haden says USC would consider going independent

Wednesday the Michael Lev of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER asked USC athletic director Pat Haden if he would consider the idea of USC becoming an independent in football like BYU.

Despite a new, lucrative television deal looming for the Pac-10 following the conference expanding to 12 teams with Utah and Colorado, Haden did not rule out the possibility at all. Far from it.

Haden: Read more…

BYU Confirms WCC Move, Football Independence

Here is the BYU press release on the school departing the Mountain West while taking football independent and moving all other sports to the West Coast Conference:

BYU WCC press release

PROVO, Utah (Aug. 31, 2010) — Brigham Young University today announced it resigned from the Mountain West Conference, effective June 30, 2011.

Additionally, the University announced its football program will compete in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision as an independent beginning fall 2011. BYU has accepted an invitation to join the West Coast Conference as a full member for men’s basketball and other sports, beginning the 2011-12 athletic season.

Further information will be provided at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 1 at LaVell Edwards Stadium beginning at noon (MT). The press conference is available only to credentialed members of the media.

The University will have no further comment until the press conference Wednesday.

Jay Drew of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE and Jon Wilner of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS were the first to break the landmark news for the West Coast Conference.

Wilner also noted in his report today the effect the move by BYU may have on the WAC and the Mountain West conference: Read more…

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…

SLC Outlets: BYU Leaving MWC, Boise To Follow?

Jay Drew and Tony Jones of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE report Wednesday:

Jim McMahon BYU

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.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…

BYU Athletes Victims Of School Trimester System

Here’s an excerpt of a press release sent out by the BYU public relations department on Friday:

Keilani Moeaki and Harvey Unga BYU Video

Two BYU student-athletes — football player Harvey Unga and women’s basketball player Keilani Moeaki — announced Friday they have decided to withdraw from school. Both students have made the decision to withdraw as a result of a violation of the BYU honor code.

With Unga the all-time leading rusher at BYU and Moeaki the sister of NFL draft prospect Tony Moeaki, this is a huge story in Utah at the moment.

Though if you follow the print and local television media coverage of the news from Salt Lake, you’ll see absolutely no speculation as to what the honor code violation was.

Though outside of Utah is a different story. Read more…

With 12-Pac, Cougars Should Be Attractive Enough

There’s nothing to wonder about Pac-10 expansion. If it happens, it’ll be BYU and Utah. Perhaps the conference could interest another school of similar stature to join the league, but unless that school is Texas, it won’t unseat BYU.

Cougar

(Or a mere 40 of OE in this case)

From a competitive, financial and logistical perspective, there’s not enough financial upside a non-BYU school could provide to not go Cougs and Utes. Especially considering the state of Utah’s ultimate trump card - as noted today by SALT LAKE DESERET NEWS columnist Dick Harmon.

Harmon observed today that if the Pac-10 tries to claim Utah but not BYU for its league, the Utah Governor Gary Herbert has legal precedent that could block the move.

Read more…

Do Not Mess With New Mexico’s Elizabeth Lambert

You know it’s a big day when we’re bringing you women’s soccer highlights. Yesterday’s game between BYU and New Mexico wasn’t especially crazy if you only look at the box score. 1-0, Stormin’ Lady Mormons. It’s how we all got there that’s raising an eyebrow or two.

Elizabeth Lambert Hair Yank
(Hey hey hey hey hey, none of that, girls.)

Yeah, that’s a BYU player getting pulled down to the ground by her ponytail. And that’s New Mexico defender Elizabeth Lambert getting away with it. And you know how badly she behaved yesterday? That might not be the most flagrantly violent thing she did on the field. Lambert’s tally on the day - at least, everything that made the highlight reel, lord only knows what else went on - was a punch to the small of the back, some Muay Thai knees to the sternum, a tackle that earns a yellow card anywhere else, that aforementioned hair pull … deep breath… a trip, a ball kicked straight into a prone player’s face point blank, and a straight karate chop to the face. Oh, and one yellow card. No gunshot wound, no red, apparently. Video is after the break, and you’re going to want to watch this one.

Read more…