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February 23, 2012

Nebraska, Big 12 News

BYU announced Thursday that it will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Ten Conference on Sept. 5, 2015.

This game appears to be the first step towards additional future games with the Big Red. The BYU press release quotes athletic director Tom Holmoe as saying that, "I look forward to developing a longterm relationship with Nebraska."

His statement alluding to a future relationship would seem to indicate that more games with Nebraska are forth coming and was no doubt a preemptive strike aimed at curbing potential outcries from BYU fans complaining about what appears to be a one-and-done arrangement.

It is likely that other games with the Huskers are close to being finished, and that BYU was essentially forced into announcing this one game to the public before it really wanted to because of Nebraska's intent to announce that it had finalized its 2012 and 2015 schedules. This looks like it could eventually end up like the series BYU set up with Texas.

On Feb. 13th, Holmoe appeared on BYUtv's TrueBlue program and said that games with a couple of big-name schools that BYU fans would be excited about would be announced shortly. He also mentioned that these games were ones that at one point were on, and then appeared to be off, then came back on again.

Deep Shades of Blue reported in 2011 that sources close the situation were indicating that BYU was close to announcing a deal to play the Cornhuskers. At that time the deal appeared to be a home-and-home series along with a game to be played at a neutral site.

Big 12 Rumors

DSB has also learned from sources with knowledge of the situation, that while BYU continues to flesh out its schedule as an independent, it is also aggressively pursuing full membership in the Big 12 Conference for all of its athletic programs.

BYU has been involved in continued discussions with the Big 12 and its member schools for sometime now, even after the conference added TCU and West Virginia this past fall to replace Texas A&M and Missouri, both of which defected to the SEC.

In fact, discussions between BYU and the Big 12 go back to 2010, when the conference was reduced to ten teams after losing Nebraska and Colorado to the Big Ten and PAC-12 respectively.

Talks between the two parties have ramped up over the past couple of weeks however, with discussions revolving around the possibility of BYU and Louisville being added in time for the 2013-14 athletics season. Such a move would get the conference back to its original number of 12 member schools, and provide it with the opportunity to hold a championship game for football in December of 2013.

For BYU's part, university officials have apparently taken a much more proactive approach during the most recent round of discussions. BYU is reportedly indicating a willingness to bring all of its programs into the league this time around, something that the school had apparently hedged on in past discussions.

Multiple media sources covering the Big 12 reported during last football season that BYU had been "difficult" to negotiate with and that key members of the school's leadership were digging in their heels on certain issues.

Rumors circulated that some members of the BYU Board of Trustees were sensitive to just up and bolting on the faith-based group of schools in the WCC, which had provided a home for most of BYU's programs when the Cougars departed the Mountain West Conference to become an independent in football.

It's unlikely that we will see any official announcement regarding expansion of the Big 12 until the conference decides on a new commissioner. League presidents fired former commissioner Dan Bebee in September of last year and replaced him with Chuck Neinas on an interim basis.

On Wednesday, the 80-year-old Neinas announced that he will be step aside effective the end of June with the anticipation that a new commissioner will be in place by no later than July 1. Leading candidates for the job reportedly include current Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, NCAA interim executive VP of championships Greg Shaheen, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.




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