No Big 12 for BYU

Big 12 ExpansionI know BYU football isn’t the normal talk here. I think it’s relevant to the broader LDS community this year if only due to how it’s perceived around the country. While as I write this the Big 12 hasn’t formally announced the death of expansion plans, it’s being widely leaked. For months BYU seemed like a shoe in. Then came the activism at many colleges over the honor code at BYU. While some of the information out there was simply incorrect, the basic idea of no pubic displays of affection for homosexuals seemed like a deal breaker to enough college presidents so as to kill BYU’s hopes.

Now it’s not quite as simple as that. First the Big 12 has been horribly managed. In particular this expansion process has been the most dysfunctional display of management within college football in years. The conference has become a laughing stock among most commentators. Throw in the issue of ESPN and Fox Sports not wanting expansion and BYU would have had a hard time no matter the honor code or not.

Nonetheless the failure of expansion does strongly suggest how BYU is starting to be viewed by universities around the country. I’m not saying they should modify their honor code or not. However unless it does change the honor code opposition most likely will intensify.

Staying on football issues rather than the honor code, this Big 12 decision puts BYU in a tight spot. As tough as independence status is, it is unarguably better than being in the Mountain West Conference. BYU  has far better schedules, their games are better broadcast, and tehy earn far more money per game.[1] Realistically after failing to make it into the Big 12, BYU will be stuck independent for the foreseeable future. The Pac-12 opposed us even before the change is social norms over homosexuality. There’s no real conceivable reason the AAC or SEC would want us. That leaves the Big 12 or Big 10. Perhaps some connection to the latter would be worth it, but realistically BYU is stuck until the inevitable collapse of at least one conference leading to a bunch of moving around.

While the best BYU can do in the meantime is schedule good teams, there are limits on that. For one if Power 5 conference teams decide BYU is dangerous to play it’ll become harder to schedule them. It’s true that’s not a necessary consequence. After all Notre Dame manages quite well. But BYU simply isn’t perceived the same way as Notre Dame and doesn’t have its history. That means if under Coach Sitake we continue to improve so we’re legitimately a Power 5 competitive team that our success undermines our goals. This was why getting into a conference was so important.

The reality is though that it’ll be a while before we start seeing movement in college sports again. Even though many suspect the Big 12 will collapse when their TV deals end. One bright light is that the general decrease in sports profitability as people shift their viewing habits might mean football has to adjust. Yet even if that happens, BYU will still have the honor code, the church will still (from a secular view) discriminate against homosexuals, and if anything public tolerance for such practices will be much shorter.

[1] Contra popular opinion BYU appears to be one of the few colleges that makes money on football. University of Utah is one of the few others.

48 comments for “No Big 12 for BYU

  1. Judging by Twitter, yes a great deal.

    Even those who don’t care about football should be interested that opinion shifted so quickly over whether BYU would get admitted to a conference due to its position on homosexual rights.

  2. BYU hasn’t ever been “a shoe-in”. Cincinnati/Houston were leading candidates until some organizations complained about BYU’s LGBTQ practices, and suddenly BYU fans had their scapegoat.

    In the end it’s all about money.

  3. Just a note that midway through, the post changes from third person (…puts BYU in a tight spot”) to first person (“We have far better schedules…”) I’m assuming that “we” refers to BYU, but maybe mormonism? In my mind, the two are not synonymous.

  4. Up until that student government complaint BYU was at the top of basically every prediction of Big 12. It wasn’t until after that BYU started sliding. The non-Mormon analysts all pointed to the honor code for why. e.g. this Sports Illustrated story, This Dallas News Story, and more.

    This SB Nation story in August is a pretty good illustration of the switch.

    A few weeks ago, I declared that — according to the Big 12’s stated expansion criteria — BYU should be considered the leading candidate. This particular issue stuck in the back of my mind, though, and I wish I’d fully acknowledged its weight at the time.

    This is the center of what we refer to when we say BYU’s an inexact “cultural fit” for this conference, or really any conference. BYU’s stance on sexual orientation has long been an issue in athletics. In the Big 12 discussion, the Sunday-only thing will ultimately be nothing compared to this.

    I’m not really surprised. If anything, I’m surprised it took until August to get raised. It’s a completely understandable reaction. But we should be clear what was going on.

  5. Other Clark, thanks for catching that. I should have kept tense the same. I’d written parts at different times and somehow didn’t notice when I proofed it. But yeah, rhetorically I’m saying I’m part of BYU even though I graduated years ago. I guess “we” means “we BYU football fans.” [Edit: fixed]

  6. You keep saying that a conference will collapse but think college athletics, at least football, is going to collapse. It’s turning not into just big business, which it was for a while now, but huge business. As leagues consolidate, as coach salaries keep climbing into the stratosphere, as big money throws its weight around more and more, I wonder if more than a few colleges and universities will decide it’s not worth it anymore and leave college football for the Michigans, Alabamas, USCs, etc.

  7. Author made a case that this is relevant because of the reaction it shows from the general public towards standards and policies of BYU, a university supported and sponsored by the LDS church. That statement can open another discussion that would be very interesting. But as a non football and BYU fan I vote not relevant.

  8. I’m a sort of football fan, and a general sports fan, but don’t care at all about whether BYU plays in the BXII. But I do care a lot about the reasons BYU is not going to play in the BXII. If the speculation is correct, the only real reason is because of fear that student groups (lgbt and anyone else friendly to lgbt) would be upset. That’s a big deal.

    The problem with this discussion, and I’ve followed it closely, is that it’s all speculation. We really don’t know why BYU isn’t playing in the BXII. If its some other reason, or set of reasons, then this is a non-story.

  9. Is this not a step in the erosion of religious freedom?

    In a faceoff between the Big 12’s religion (no discrimination against LGBT, if Clark is correct) and BYU’s religion (discrimination against LGBT), why is it obvious that BYU should win?

  10. Last lemming – because one of those things is not a religion.

    This conference thing, and the looming NCAA questions too, prompt a lot of related questions. If it’s okay (legally) for a private entity to discriminate against a religious group based on that religious groups religious-based practices, shouldn’t it also be okay (legally) for a religious person to discriminate against an individual based on the conflict between the religious person’s beliefs and the other persons practices? That is, if the BXII can discriminate against religious schools, and it’s legal because they’re not the state, why can’t the cake baker refuse to bake the wedding cake?

  11. I hope BYU stands tall with their honor and virtue in the honor code. I dont care what the rest of the world says. Lucky for BYU is that with all the spotlight attention the judging world has put them in, playing against BYU not only for money, but because they are good, is givibg BYU sway agaibst the naysayers.

  12. I know when MLB teams are doing poorly the manager still don’t mind playing the NY Yankees in a home game, because the Yankees will always bring in a large number of ticket holders. If BYU was really so good that the Power 5 teams were scared to play them, wouldn’t they actually want to play against BYU, because playing against a really good team brings prestige (or at least for home games ticket sales)?

  13. Jader3rd, The money is made from television contracts, rather than ticket sales, and the contracts are typically drawn up years in advance.

    As I see it, without being in a Power 5 conference, BYU lacks the ability to recruit top players (limited visibility) and top coaches (limited budgets). And lacking these items, it’s tough to remain a top program. Long term (20 years) BYU must either get into a power 5 conference or get out of sports. A third option, I guess, is play at the level of a Mountain West conference school.

  14. I could very well see BYU, which is building steam with new coach, being infectious to the point where so many good teams want to play them that it gives BYU the leverage to pick its conference of its choosing. The naysayers want so bad for BYU to suck, for them to have lots of problems, etc, so that it further justifies their scorns. My guess is that because BYU football is a good moneymaker and good for ratings, it will be a sway factor for the NCAA to back BYU and its tight to an honor code.

  15. Jader3rd, the issue is that most of the teams in Power 5 conferences are already playing several difficult teams which will affect their record. Already you’ll notice that few will play BYU at home but prefer to play BYU either in quasi-neutral stadiums (usually NFL stadiums near the Power 5 team) or only will play home games where BYU is at a disadvantage. BYU managed to get a few like Mississippi State to play here in Provo but that’s much harder. And that’s with BYU having about a 50/50 record with Power 5 teams. If that jumped to .750 and there was a good chance a Power 5 team could lose, while already playing several very hard teams, why would they schedule it?

    To get teams to keep playing them then BYU would really have to become prestigious the way Notre Dame is. The problem with that is history. Notre Dame brings a lot. Most people just don’t view BYU that way despite recognizing a lot of great players. Particularly quarterbacks. But it’s been a long time since the days of well known BYU quarterbacks in the NFL. Maybe an other McMahon or Young would change that a bit. I think getting a lot of players into the NFL would help. The change in offense Detmer is bringing might help there since it makes players a bit more prepared for the NFL.

    Alternatively breaking into the playoffs by going lossless with a hard schedule a few times would help too. But that’s very hard to do. (In many ways our one national championship was very lucky by having other top teams lose) More likely as best case scenario is we’d manage the top 10 a few times. Not enough to become prestigious but enough to make it harder to schedule quality teams.

    Other Clark, I think Sitaki is going to improve recruiting a lot. However BYU will always be at a disadvantage recruiting simply due to the honor code issue and how “weird” Provo is relative to most places recruiting. Even for LDS players you have teams like Utah with far more money and arguably a better chance at the NFL recruiting as well as other Power 5 teams. (Remember UCLA’s quarterback a while back was Mormon) The idea is, I think, to mimic themselves on Stanford a Power 5 team that arguably has lots of issues recruiting (due to the nature of the university) but manages to quite regularly have top 25 teams.

    As you say though that requires either being in a Power 5 conference or getting the equivalent the way Notre Dame does. Like you I think this will be pretty hard over time without getting into a Power 5 conference. However I do think independence is better than the alternatives. After all honestly I think Mormons might be expecting a bit much for BYU to be a Power 5 force the way Utah arguably is getting to be for instance. Even if BYU was in a Power 5 conference it’d probably be more of an Arizona than a Stanford. (Although I’d hope to be wrong in that)

    A lot depends upon the conference they get in though. One nice thing about the Big 12 is that I think they could have done well in that conference. However as I said the Big 12 sure seems like a dysfunctional mess not long for this world. I can’t see BYU getting into any other conference. (The Big 10 already has 14 teams)

  16. KLC, I think there’s a very good chance football is going to change drastically. For one there’s the issue of concussions and other neurological damage. Fewer people are putting their kids in football when young and that will ripple up. Secondly there’s more attention to how much money there is in the sport while the athletes get little. I’m skeptical of most of predictions of what will happen, but I do think things may be changing in the future. Most significant though is the significant drop in revenue for football on TV. That’s really going to shake things up a lot.

    I don’t think football is going away, but it may well change enough that BYU would have a chance. Or, as some suggest football may simply fall out of popularity relative to sports like basketball. I don’t know.

    Last Lemming, I don’t think BYU fans should assume they’re in the right and these other colleges that value homosexual normalization are in the wrong. Freedom of association is a big deal. We don’t “deserve” to be accepted. That’s a very big difference from religious liberty IMO.

  17. Religious liberty is what BYU has enjoyed for a very long time. Until very recently, BYU had protections it was guarenteed. Now, with laws changing that are destroying religious freedom, BYU and other religious private schools are being forced onto the dangerous ground of either conform to immorality or be left out and attacked. The sports program just might be what ends up saving religious freedom.

  18. The larger hurdle for BYU football isn’t the honor code or LGTB discrimination. It’s Sunday play. The big conferences don’t want the hassle of scheduling non-Sunday games. Again, it’s not about fans in the seats; it’s the TV networks that want live games on Sunday. LGTB might have sunk the deal with the big 12, but the Sunday play issue was a major reason Utah got into the PAC instead of the Y.

  19. I don’t think Sunday play is that big a deal. For one there aren’t a lot of Sunday games. For an other BYU has shown a willingness to play Thursdays and Fridays which makes ESPN very happy. It does annoy people though so I don’t want to say it has no effect. It was an issue for the Pac-12 but I think the bigger issue was more schools in the Pac 12 just not liking BYU for being a religious school in general.

    Rob, I’m normally willing to play the religious freedom card. However I think not wanting to play football with someone who does things you dislike isn’t really part of that.

  20. Sunday play doesn’t matter for football, since the NFL has Sundays locked in. But it matters a lot for basketball.

  21. Thanks for the analysis, Clark. And I, for one, am interested. This has some serious ramifications. BYU football is probably the most visible face of BYU and the Church. And the Big 12 did decide to forego expansion. The Sports illustrated article announcing the decision mentioned the primary reason as the LGBTQ backlash against the university because of the Church’s stance on such issues. BYU was the most attractive candidate, but once the political cost became too high, the university presidents decided that if BYU was unacceptable, then no other two teams were really all that attractive, and the money was better without expansion. So, it appears independence will be BYU’s lot for the near future. The long term is much less clear.

    This decision raises questions about the long-term viability of football at BYU. Unless the Church can come up with a less offensive approach to dealing with its LGBTQ members, we may eventually see a repeat of the 1960s, when students and fans from other universities protested at BYU games because of its priesthood policy and some teams refused to play BYU. If the day comes when big-name teams (and even not so big-name teams) refuse to schedule BYU because of its policies, then football may become more of a burden than a missionary tool. Who can say? I’m hoping for a more Christian policy than what came out in November, but change in the Church is difficult. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Also, I think you meant “shoo-in,” not “shoe-in.”

  22. Clark,
    Do you believe a private school has a protected right to discriminate on sex orientation issues? And do you think higher institutions like the NCAA, as a committee have the same right?

  23. LOL. I’ve almost always only spoken it. I thought it was talking about putting your foot in your shoe, not shooing chickens or the like into their enclosure. I’ll remember that one.

    I do think there are some big differences from the blacks issue in the 70’s, but there also are some strong parallels. My sense is that colleges would be fine with a slight modification to the honor code much like Baylor had to do. In fact I was halfway expecting a symbolic but merely rhetorical modification to the honor code by BYU to ensure inclusion.

    Like you I think that this was a combination of LGBTQ issues (especially with weak lame duck universities Presidents) and ESPN & Fox opposing expansion. It sounds like ESPN and Fox ponied up extra money and that was the deciding factor. Of course had the Big 12 not been so amazingly dysfunctional this would have been decided in spring before the LGBTQ issues got raised. But c’est la vie. It is what it is.

    Mark, that’s a really good point. I was being more than a little myopic there. Basketball does matter a lot. Particularly to the Pac-12.

  24. It’s a minor point, but you might want to fix an unfortunate typo in this sentence (“public”):

    “…no pubic displays of affects…”

  25. Two thoughts:

    1. Conference membership reflects academic prestige as well as athletic prestige. Academic issues are at least as important as financial value and athletic quality in keeping BYU out of the Pac-12 and the Big 10. BYU is a good academic institution. But BYU’s ideas about academic freedom are a deal breaker when it seeks to join some of the nation’s elite universities in a conference like the Pac-12.

    The Big 12 is much less concerned about academics than the Pac-12 or the Big 10. It’s also more dysfunctional and more fractious than the other major conferences. That’s why it should deeply concern BYU that not even the Big 12 wants it, despite BYU’s strength in athletics. It’s a sign that at least for now, the political controversies around BYU are a very serious problem. As some have implied in these comments, it would be a significant symbolic political victory for BYU to get into the Big 12. It’s a significant symbolic defeat to be snubbed.

    2. Sports is one of the major areas of the university in which BYU must be responsive to external forces if it wants to be part of the action. That makes sports especially important during the long phase of turning inward that BYU is going through right now. Usually I’d say that I don’t much care whether the football program goes away, because on balance I’m not sure whether the advantages it brings outweigh the problems. However, in the current climate at BYU, I think it’s healthy to have more contact and more interdependence with the world outside the bubble. I find myself rooting for BYU to find a home in a major athletic conference.

  26. I can’t help but think of the global boycott of Apartheid South Africa’s rugby squad over race rights during the 1970s and 80s.

    If the fight for gay rights is anything like the global civil rights movement that caused the rugby boycott (think North Carolina and the answer is that it is), a concession-averse Q15, like the Apartheid regime, may see one of its best PR tools become a whipping boy. I’m not comparing the character of the Q15 to that of Apartheid SA, just trying to draw a relevant parallel. The Big 12 didn’t come out and criticize BYU over the Church’s policies, but that could change down the road.

  27. To be fair, while I played up the honor code issues because I think it unarguably changed how BYU was discussed in the media, in terms of Big 12 expansion I think there’s a lot more going on in the background. Some might not be aware of some of it so let me summarize briefly. (Please correct me if you think me wrong)

    Originally the Big 12 wanted to add two teams, BYU and Cincinnati. However the Big 12 is really run by two universities: Texas and Oklahoma due to their prowess in football. (As an aside this is probably partially why some teams left) Politics in Texas were such that there was a lot of pressure to add Houston. (As an aside they’re having a fantastic year too). You then ended up with Oklahoma wanting Cincinnati, Texas wanting Houston with BYU being the one that at the time made more sense. The way to deal with this was to move to 14 teams instead of 12. The only question was what extra team to add. However as soon as word came out that they wanted to add 14 teams then Fox and ESPN freaked out as this would cost them a lot money as they pay per team. This more or less meant 14 teams was out. But then you had the 12 team expansion and the battle between Oklahoma and Texas over which team gets added. Neither wanted to back down.

    Right around this time the LGBT issue started popping up as some student activists and student governments started raising it as an issue. Without discounting this as an issue on its own, the significance of it relative to the Big 12 can’t be separated from that battle between Oklahoma and Texas. Now at this point disagreements among pundits start popping up. i.e. who planned what when. However it seems likely at that point that Texas and Oklahoma weren’t going to agree, weren’t going to back down, and saw that they could get more money from ESPN and Fox. That’s when all the ludicrous stuff with the Big 12 starts. Some people think that them being selfish and playing colleges like BYU along. Others think that they were just dumb and went for the better deal. I confess that if is was just Houston vs. Cincinnati I don’t understand why they didn’t just add them and leave BYU out.

    In any case, while the honor code definitely mattered in all this, it can’t be separated out from the background politics going on. That said, I do think it’ll be more of an issue going forward.

  28. Clark,
    The only thing that truly worries me is if the NCAA decides at some point to cave in to LGBT lobbyists and passes into rule anti discriminatory rules that exclude membership from schools that discriminate agaibst LGBT. That is a very real possibility and would make private schools sports programs become obsolete or moved into such obscurity that they would be forced into class action lawsuits. It could thus involve federal courts to get involved that may pave the way for governments to force private schools with honor codes to either comply or be shut down permanently.

  29. I think that “cultural fit” has been an underlying concern about BYU for the Big 12 for the last couple of years. College football analysts like Stewart Mandel have consistently said over this time that BYU makes sense otherwise but that these types of issues have put them behind Houston and Cincinnati. This would represent a shift from 5-10 years ago, although as noted these types of concerns go back much further in the now Pac 12.

  30. In my opinion BYU will choose to discontinue all Division I athletics within the next 10-15 years.
    The boycotts of BYU’s football team will be the beginning and the church wont budge. Once the football program has no one to play there will be no revenue to be able to support the other athletics programs.
    When Missouri’s football team threatened to boycott until their school President resigned due to his mishandling of race issues they got their wish because forfeiting the game (which ironically which was against BYU) would have imposed a $1 million fine, that was a powerful Ace in their deck which forced the University to push him out.
    BYU-H and BYU-I are both down to only intramural sports (will be after this year for BYU-H). There is still too much money on the table for BYU to get rid of football yet, but don’t think that they won’t be prepared to drop it when the pressure is on.

  31. ,
    I dont think it would stop there. LGBT lobbyists are so hell bent on forcing their agenda down everyones throats that unless BYU and other schools push back it will be only a matter of time before the entire university is shut down. They are actively lobbying to remove accredation from BYU.

  32. Clark, as a Texas alum and close follower of the expansion issue, I would caveat your analysis that there is a definite perception that Texas’s support for Houston’s inclusion in the Big XII was simply PR to get Houston to sign off on the building of a UT-Houston campus not far from the Houston campus. It wasn’t clear whether Texas would have actually voted for Houston’s inclusion, especially given that it would be inviting another rival for Houston-area recruits into the conference.

    Given everything I’ve read on the issue, I personally don’t think BYU’s Honor Code or Sunday play policy were deal breakers, and, in fact, I don’t think a lack of consensus on the two teams to invite was the issue at all. I lay blame at the feet of ESPN and Fox who were apparently able to either kick in some more cash or threaten the Big XII with less favorable contract terms once the TV deal expires (though I personally think that the records TV deals we’re seeing now are about to become costly dinosaurs as more people cut the cord so it may have been something of an empty threat). Had BYU been paired with another P5 school (Louisville for example), that might have worked, but no one in the any of the other P5 would even contemplate coming to the Big XII right now. The time for such horse trading was in 2010. Texas’s AD at the time failed to support expansion, and, here we are.

    For BYU, it appears that the problem here is a mix of geography (the Big XII already has one geographical outlier in West Virginia. Who wants another one in the “wrong” direction?), lack of national prestige (yes there are lots of Mormons in the U.S., but non-Mormons aren’t going to watch BYU-Okahoma State), and changing opinions on same-sex issues. I feel bad for BYU fans, and for people who might have been introduced to the Gospel through BYU’s inclusion, though I’m willing to be the Lord has a backup plan or two for them.

  33. My guess is that part of this is that the Brethren didn’t want to modify the honor code and make it seem like they did it under pressure. There will almost certainly be adjustments to the honor code & honor office due to issues on Title IX and potential abuse of records by the BYU police. That means that there is ‘cover’ for adjusting it in some way.

  34. Yeah I couldn’t quite figure out the Houston issue as even in summer there were stories that there was political pressure in the state but that it wasn’t in the Longhorn’s best interests to have an other in state team. Especially considering TCU’s improvement. But that makes it even more confusing then since they’d have two teams, BYU & Cincinnati. I’ve heard a lot of people putting the blame now mostly on ESPN.

    My guess is that we’re going to move to 16 team conferences with playoffs in the near future. The only question is when it happens and what precipitates the move. My guess is that declining TV revenues will be the big driver and that it’ll happen prior to 2024 and potentially as early as 2020. ESPN in particular is starting to hurt financially. College basketball and football is the obvious place to squeeze.

    The Big 12 sure looks bad after all this though.

  35. It’s all the result of a mid 90s shotgun marriage between the dysfunctional remnants of a once-powerful conference with rampant cheating and relatively large viewership and a powerful-on-the-field conference with limited viewership built on the backs of partial qualifiers (I’m looking at you Nebraska). If the Texas and OU football teams had continued to win at 2008 levels, expansion would be a non-issue.

  36. Yes both seem to be living in the past in a lot of ways. At least from the outside they seem to ultimately be hurting themselves. Texas hasn’t been the same since that first time BYU beat them. (They’re 3-3 this year and it’s been a long time since they dominated) At least Baylor and West Virginia are doing well. (#9 and #12) And Oklahoma is #16. Although to be fair Oklahoma in preseason rankings was #3, Texas was #11 and TCU was #12.

    Part of the problem is that there tends to be a mindset at both Texas and Oklahoma that those two teams shouldn’t really have competition. (Thinking of here Barry Switzer’s comments about expansion this year and saying it was a mistake to let TCU in because it diluted Texas and Oklahoma)

  37. I don’t believe the LGBT activists were as influential as some are claiming. This was a public pageant aimed at getting more cash out of ESPN and Fox for the current members of the Big 12. It worked for the Big 12. And left mud all over some fine institutions, including BYU.

    But I do not doubt that some LGBT activists would love to destroy BYU. The culture war is just warming up.

  38. I know this doesn’t really impact the discussion about the potential long-term effect of the Church’s position on LGBT issues, but many people in the sports world believe that the Big 12 never intended to expand, and even if BYU didn’t have the LGBT issue expansion would not have happened. The conference’s contracts with Fox and ESPN required the networks to pay an additional $25 million per year for each additional team. The Big 12 played the networks and a whole bunch of teams to force the networks to pony up with more money to be divided among the existing teams in exchange for the Big 12 forgoing expansion. Each team gets more money than the contract provided and that’s what they wanted.

    Would the political issue have impacted BYU getting into the conference if it had expanded? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But expansion was never really intended.

  39. The idea expansion never was intended is the current conspiracy theory. The idea was they just wanted more money and a playoff, which they got. While not out of the realm of possibility I confess I’m not sure I buy it. (Not that I have any inner information) My sense is that ESPN and Fox opposing the deal caught them somewhat off guard.

  40. Yeah, I don’t buy the idea that expansion was always just a feint. If the Big 12 were smart enough to hatch such a big Machiavellian plot, they also would have been smart enough to do it more quietly, without manipulating and embarrassing some twenty other schools in the process. I think the reality is that it’s a conference with weak central leadership, very unequal power among its members, and independent, egotistical university presidents who ultimately call the shots. That made the process very messy. In a better world, any school would hesitate to join a bunch like that. Unfortunately, the Big 12 is the only game in town right now as far as BYU is concerned.

  41. The big football conference issue is rather moot this year. With a losing season, BYU football proves unable to deal with the challenge of the teams they are playing now.

  42. Loursat – It does seem like a lot of effort to go through, unless the networks were balking and seemed unconvinced. Whatever better way to convince them to cough up the money than act publicly like you’re really going to expand.

  43. Jim, a lot of people were predicting an 8 and 4 season at the beginning of the year. Given how easy the rest of the schedule is, I think that’s easily achievable.

    While I won’t deny I’ve been disappointed in a lot of play, especially from Taysom and the WRs, we’re only one game off what I expected. We have a very hard schedule and an entirely new coaching staff. I also thought Taysom wouldn’t do as well given all the wear on his body. I just didn’t expect some of the other problems we had. (Line at the beginning of the year, WRs all season – although I confess I was worried about the secondary during summer when everyone was telling me they’d be great)

    Anyway, I do think fans expect a bit much of BYU. It’s never done better than about .500 with Power 5 teams. If it were to get into a conference there’d be a few years of adjustment. The one thing I think many of us are excited about though is better recruiting than we’ve had in a while. That’ll take time of course. And we won’t do as well as if we were in the Big 12. But I do think the program is improving. The fact so many games this year despite injuries and weak play were so close says a lot about the team. Had we experienced coaches and players recruited specifically for the style of play they want and this year easily could have been a 11-1 seasons.

  44. This will alienate some folks, but I’m with Clark in not seeing the big “religious freedom” argument/worry here. Meaning: everyone cries “religious freedom” as if that means that churches and church-sponsored institutions should be able to do whatever they want, blank check. Those who think this misunderstand what religious freedom really means, and in fact oftentimes church members who are big proponents of religious freedom (and all of the grievances about how it is violated) are really rooting for the OPPOSITE of religious freedom: the ability of churches or organizations to impose their beliefs without constraint. This is pure rubbish.

    As a church, it’s our right to have a code/policy prohibiting coffee consumption. It’s NOT our right to discriminate against coffee drinkers. In the context of an academic institution, it’s a tricky line to walk. I do think some of this stuff is heating up.

    But I happen to believe that BYU SHOULDN’T be allowed in the Big12. It’s not our constitutional right to compete in a particular sports conference, if we have (from the secular viewpoint) discriminatory policies. This is the same reason that BYU has to comply with Title IX and have women’s teams. I just think the LGBTQ issues are hot/current and not completely settled – – but make no mistake about it, they will be. And when they are, I speculate (like others) that BYU’s interest in Div I sports in general will likely wane.

    And you know what folks? That’s ok. It may be heretical to say on this post, but football has little eternal significance. :)

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