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September 20, 2011A source close to the situation at Brigham Young University is indicating that if the Big 12 Conference in fact holds together as now expected, BYU is highly likely to become a full member of that conference if it can be assured that the league will be stable into the future.
The source says that university and Big 12 officials were close to making an announcement of the addition of BYU to the conference following the loss of Texas A&M, but those plans were put on hold when Oklahoma president David Boren made it known that the Sooners were exploring their options with the PAC-12. That same source informed Deep Shades of Blue last year of BYU's intent to become a football independent weeks before its official announcement.
The source also informed DSB that prior to the Sooners courting of the PAC-12, the BYU Board of Trustees had authorized President Cecil O. Samuelson to move all of the school's athletic programs into the Big 12 if university officials deemed it to be the correct move.
That authorization was granted despite concerns from high-ranking officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are sensitive to relationships between the Church and the faith-based institutions of the West Coast Conference, which provided a home just last year for most of BYU's athletic teams.
On Tuesday afternoon, The Oklahoman reported that Oklahoma is now willing to consider staying in the Big 12, contingent upon the removal of current conference commissioner Dan Beebe and making other significant reforms within the conference, including rules placed on the Longhorn Network.
Then came a report Tuesday night that the PAC-12 has decided not expand.
Those reports coincided with a report that emerged from a Tuesday meeting between Big East officials, that a merger that had been discussed between the Big East and the Big 12 was now dead because of a lack of interest, with the Big East being told by schools in the Big 12 that they are committed to trying to hold their conference together.
A report from Orangebloods.com also says that a serious effort is being made by Big 12 member schools to hold the conference together, quoting one high-ranking official at a Big 12 school as saying, "The Big 12 is going to stay intact except for Texas A&M."
If the nine remaining members of the embattled conference can indeed kiss and make up, they will almost certainly move rapidly to add another school to replace the departing Texas A&M. It is not clear if the conference would immediately look to get back to 12 schools or expand even further. However, the source at BYU believes that if the Big 12 is in fact saved and solidified, adding the Cougars to the conference could happen quickly, even within a matter of days.