BYU to take the football independence route
And, as initially thought, that future contains no conference at all when it comes to football.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, BYU has decided to to become an independent in football and, in a blow to the WAC, take its non-football sports to the West Coast Conference. The move will take effect for the 2011-2012 school year.
BYU had an agreement in place with the WAC to move their non-football sports to that conference but, once word leaked out about BYU’s intentions, the Mountain West, BYU’s soon-to-be former conference, swooped in and grabbed Nevada and Fresno State. That maneuver by the MWC forced BYU to consider remaining in their current conference at least for the short-term.
BYU had a Sept. 1 deadline to inform the MWC of their intentions; a joint announcement by BYU and the WCC is expected to be made this evening. The Salt Lake Tribune, however, reports that a formal announcement will not be made until Wednesday.
With BYU’s move after this football season, as well as Utah’s, it will leave the Mountain West with as few as eight schools for the 2011 season. Both Nevada and Fresno State have informed the WAC that they intend to leave following the 2010-2011 school year; the WAC is attempting to keep the two schools through the 2012 school year.
Boise State will join the MWC in 2011 and become the conference’s eight team -- for now -- as they announced their move ahead of the WAC’s July 1 deadline.
UPDATED 7:41 p.m. ET: BYU has confirmed on their official website they will become a football independent, and the Mountain West has issued a statement responding to the school’s impending departure.
“Since its inception, the Mountain West Conference has worked strategically to grow and strengthen the league, in order to position itself at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics,” said MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Our Board of Directors’ diligent exploration of options to advance the membership’s objectives is ongoing. This includes conversations with our television partners to address issues of mutual importance, as well as determining the optimal configuration for the Conference and investigating the possibility of various collaborative alliances. We look forward to the future with great excitement - particularly welcoming recent additions Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada into the Mountain West.”
UPDATED 8:24 p.m. ET: We are trying something here never before attempted on CFT -- a poll. Agree or disagree with BYU’s move to football independent? Click HERE to vote.