BYU athletics: Cougars' conference plans still unknown
PROVO — One day after a report surfaced that BYU was going to stay in the Mountain West Conference, things remained quiet in Provo on Thursday.
The school has been contemplating the concept of going independent in football and playing the rest of its sports in the Western Athletic Conference. Last week, the Mountain West Conference stymied that plan by inviting Fresno State and Nevada, leaving the WAC with only six football-playing schools.
On Wednesday night, Denver Post reporter Natalie Meisler wrote in her blog that "a number of sources" were telling her the "impasse could be resolved as soon as Thursday with all indications that the Cougars will remain in the MWC."
BYU associate athletic director Duff Tittle said Thursday school officials are still not discussing the issue.
"Nothing has changed at BYU," Tittle said. "As we have said for weeks, we continue to explore all options."
Earlier this week, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that MWC commissioner Craig Thompson was in discussions with BYU and the league's television partners — CBS College Sports Network and Comcast.
"We're trying to see what can be resolved," said Thompson, who described the discussions as "friendly conversations."
Thompson was not available for comment Thursday.
Air Force Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, the chairman of the MWC board of directors, said making financial concessions to BYU hasn't been part of the discussions.
"There have been no discussions about any kind of disproportionate sharing of revenue," Gould told the Gazette.
Meanwhile, there have been reports this week that BYU is still pursuing independence as an option and that it has been in communication with the West Coast Conference as a place for the Cougars' sports, other than football, to compete.
The eight members (Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland, Saint Mary's, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Clara) of the WCC have at least one thing in common with BYU — all are private, religiously affiliated institutions. The WCC schools reside in the Southern and Northern California, Oregon and Washington markets.
The WCC does not play football. It plays six men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis) and seven women's sports (basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, tennis, volleyball). However, the WCC does not have softball, swimming, diving or track — sports that BYU competes in.
BYU has until Sept. 1 to notify MWC officials if it is leaving the conference after the 2010 sports season.
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