Brigham Young announced Wednesday an eight-year broadcast partnership with ESPN that will allow every home football and men’s basketball game to be aired nationally.
Brigham Young had announced Tuesday that it will become independent in football and join the West Coast Conference in all other sports beginning next summer. The institution will officially resign from the Mountain West Conference on June 30, 2011.
Athletics Director Tom Holmoe said the decision came down to two factors: access for fans and exposure for the institution and its student-athletes.
“Being independent increases access to our national following of fans,” Holmoe said. “Every home football game and men’s basketball game will now be carried nationally. We will be free to broadcast our Olympic sports and games as we desire as often as we please (through BYU-TV). It increases the national exposure of our athletics programs. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase who I feel are the most wonderful student-athletes in the world.”
Holmoe credited the agreement with ESPN with helping them secure a six-game football series with Notre Dame and upcoming games with Texas and other prominent programs. He said he was working with officials at Utah to continue that rivalry as well. Holmoe acknowledged that because football schedules are done so far in advance, there would be a “transition period” before the school feels the full benefits of independence, and he said members of the West Coast Conference would play the Cougars during that transition period.
West Coast Conference Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich said the Cougars were a “good fit” for the conference, which is composed of mostly private, religiously affiliated institutions. He said the conference has no plans to expand further.
Brigham Young’s move from the Mountain West, announced Tuesday, is the latest in a series of conference changes that began in early June with Boise State moving from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West. That move was followed quickly by Nebraska leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten and Colorado moving from the Big 12 to the Pacific-10. The Pacific-10 also added Utah from the Mountain West.
Last month, Nevada and Fresno State left the WAC for the Mountain West as well. WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday night that the league would not immediately comment on Brigham Young’s decision.
|School||Current conference||New conference|
|Boise State||Western Athletic Conference||Mountain West Conference|
|Nebraska||Big 12 Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|Colorado||Big 12 Conference||Pacific-10 Conference|
|Utah||Mountain West Conference||Pacific-10 Conference|
|Fresno State||Western Athletic Conference||Mountain West Conference|
|Nevada||Western Athletic Conference||
Mountain West Conference
|BYU||Mountain West Conference||West Coast Conference, football independent|