Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How close was BYU to a Big 12 invite?

Our old buddies at BYU were mentioned a lot as a candidate to join the Big 12 during last summer's conference realignment frenzy.  But how close did the Cougars actually get to receiving an invite?  Pretty darn close, if you believe what BYU blogger "Shoganai" wrote yesterday

According to Shoganai, BYU- along with TCU and Louisville- had become behind the scenes favorites to become members of an expanded Big 12 as early as May of 2010.  That's why, he says, the news of the Frogs moving to the Big East in November of that year was very welcome at BYU- as it would seem to firm up the Big East and leave the Cougars as THE prime candidate to join the Big 12.

Over the next year, he says, BYU had numerous meetings with Big 12 power brokers and that a move started to seem imminent.  Things sped up when A&M and then Missouri left the conference, but it was TCU and then West Virginia who swooped in to take those vacancies.  To understand it from the BYU perspective, the Frogs and Mountaineers essentially cut them in line.

So why was BYU not chosen, and why are they still not part of the still needing two teams to be accurately-named Big 12?  According to Shoganai, it boils down to three reasons:

#1: FOX and ESPN could not reach an agreement on how to integrate BYU's existing TV contract with ESPN into the Big 12 TV contract.

#2: The Big 12 preferred for BYU to join for all sports, but the Cougars had already joined the West Coast Conference for every sport other than football and had made assurances to the WCC that they wouldn't be leaving for at least two years.

#3: The Big 12 and it's TV partners prefer to play some sports- most notably men's and women's basketball, on Sunday afternoons.  BYU, along with soda, does not permit its athletes to compete on Sunday. 

While the Sunday issue appears to have played a part in the Big 12's decision-making, it's easy to speculate that the same streak of out-dated "morality" may have cost BYU a spot in the now-Pac 12 when Utah was selected to join Colorado as the newest members of that league in the summer of 2010.  Utah, after all, was willing to play for the league's TV partners on Sunday- and wasn't backed by a church that used exorbitant amounts of money to tip the scales in the 2008 vote on same-sex marriage in California.  That probably didn't play well with the left-leaning university presidents on the west coast, and so the Utes got the place at the big-boy table that BYU thought they deserved for themselves.

But it was BYU's childish reaction to their rivals' good fortune that really damaged their Big 12 candidacy.  Instead of continuing to seek a BCS conference spot while a member of the Mountain West, the Cougars decided to publicly act on their butt-hurtedness and struck out as independents.  They figured it'd be easier to jump up to the big leagues if they weren't hampered by a conference affiliation, but mostly didn't want Utah to be able to snub their nose at them for still slumming it in the MWC.  What it really got them, though, was a slate full of Friday night games on ESPN 2 against mostly WAC teams that ended up making them unable to join the Big 12 even when two slots opened up. 

It's impossible to tell how accurate all of this is, and it's certainly possible that BYU will be part of future Big 12 expansion.  If I were them, I'd be soiling my magic underwear every time I heard the words "Notre Dame," "Clemson," or "Florida State".  We don't know exactly how the future of the conference will shake out- but for now, it appears that BYU's almost Longhorn-level hubris has left them out in the cold. 


Sir Wesley Willis said...

If BYU honestly got hung up on their promise to the WCC then they're the dumbest bunch of magic underwear havin' folks on the planet. The no Sunday games thing is always going to be an issue for a major Conference because no one is going to completely amend their schedule for a B-List team like BYU. But yes, I agree it's pretty funny that despite making their big show of independence they're still totes butt hurt.

LOLfolding said...

I respect BYU for sticking to their guns on the religious aspects of their scheduling concerns (even if I don't agree with what it's based on) but not wanting to break what sounds like a verbal commitment to the WCC for other sports is ridiculous. Somehow Notre Dame is nationally prominent on it's own accord (I still have no clue how they receive so much special consideration in football...), but a tiny school pushing a niche religion should do everything it can to find time in the spotlight.

I'm kind of split on the TV thing. I believe the school views the TV network as a missionary tool and so I could understand not wanting to give it up because mission work is their main focus but I have to think the channel gets minimal viewership outside of already LDS faithful. It would stand to reason they would use whatever commercial time they get on a larger network to fulfill the school's mission of outreach to a broader audience and that it would be more effective than BYU TV.

That being said, they need to get over their jealousy of Utah. The move to independence REEKED of scorned lover trying to rebound better. Failed miserably.

Unknown said...

It's interesting that a blog on Texas CHRISTIAN University would not understand the importance of no Sunday play. College football is all about the new idol worship of the big bucks the BCS and the new playoff system wave in front of your faces, but BYU understands the greater good. If it means not getting into the snobby conferences, so be it. Enjoy your pieces of silver, Texas "Christian" University. Your hatred of Mormons, along with some of the posters is evident. C'est la vie. As a Mormon I don't care for the accolades of the world. The higher mission of BYU football, as a missionary tool, is what's important.

Lou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyle Lanley said...

It's funny that your football program holds tight to the concept of not playing on Sunday...while training players for a profession that is almost exclusively focused on working on the Sabbath.

Good luck with your pyramid scheme, and good luck winning the WCC.

SnK said...

You're right about one thing for sure "unknown"- you certaintly are a missionary tool. If we get "pieces of silver" what does byu get? Pieces of shit?

Sir Wesley Willis said...

I think it's Pieces of getting molested by a relative.