BYUs Silence Speaks Volumes
The statement released to the media late Wednesday afternoon by the BYU Athletics office said little, yet spoke volumes.
It was what the statement didn't say that was most telling. In it, BYU didn't deny contact from, or interest in joining the Big XII Conference, which officially learned on Wednesday that it is losing Texas A&M next July.
The tight-lipped BYU brass emerged from their foxholes to release their four-sentence statement, then quickly retreated.
"There is much speculation right now regarding conference affiliation that seems to change by the hour", the statement offers. "Commenting on such conjecture is not productive and creates a distraction for our program. As we enter the 2011-12 athletic season, BYU is focused on the opportunities ahead. We are excited about our relationship with ESPN as a football independent and our affiliation with the West Coast Conference."
Translation: "We are in negotiation with the Big XII and need time to work through issues with the all parties involved, including broadcast rights and contracts, Sunday play, guarantees of future conference stability, etc."
With the Big XII making no bones about the fact that they are acting aggressively in response to A&M's departure, there is virtually on doubt that it has contacted BYU at this point. The Cougars are the most logical target for the league, which is looking to get back to 10 teams by 2012 in order to fulfill its obligations under its television contract with Fox.
Click Here to view this Link.A report out today from the Salt Lake Tribune claims that the Big XII has indeed been in contact with BYU officials over the past several days, and that BYU has been in talks with ESPN and even Notre Dame, regarding the issues involved in a potential move by the Cougars to the Big XII.
According to the report, the BYU Board of Trustees is also concerned about the bad PR the university could create for itself by doing an about-face and bolting on the other faith-based schools in the West Coast Conference. The WCC stepped up to the plate last year, when BYU's plans to move all of its programs outside of football to the WAC was scuttled by the move by Nevada and Fresno State to the MWC.
For that reason there has reportedly been at least some discussion of BYU keeping its other athletic programs in the WCC. Although, it is hard to believe that that would be a palatable option for the Big XII and its media partners, not to mention the other coaches on campus such as basketball coach Dave Rose.
At this point, all indicators seem to point to the fact that BYU is seriously considering a move to the Big XII. The fact that the athletic department has been in lockdown mode all weeks tells you something is definitely afoot.