BYU athletic department remains quiet on conference affiliation, everybody else talks
BYU has still not made any official statement about its status as a football independent or said that it was leaving the Mountain West Conference. But the possibility, and the conversation has dominated web traffic, newspaper content and talk on the airwaves for more than a week now.
Our Jared Eborn obtained a document that outlined what the BYU athletic department and the Western Athletic Conference were negotiating when Fresno State and Nevada agreed to leave the conference and put the Cougars and both conferences in a state of flux.
Jay Drew has obtained e-mails that outline the details of how the deal collapsed.
Duff Tittle, BYU Associate Athletic Director for Communications, told our Jeff Call that "Nothing has changed at BYU. As we have said for weeks, we continue to explore all options."
Dick Harmon says the whole affair is about BYU controlling its own brand and exposure.
Former Cougar and current Deseret News blogger Vai Sikahema says that BYU should issue its own Declaration of Independence with the qualifier that he doesn't know what is really going on (which means he is just like the rest of the media).
The irony is that BYU's silence, or non-reaction to all the speculation, is causing media members everywhere to react and in the vacuum of knowledge, speculate more and use all the unnamed sources that will speak a word about any possible lead even if the sources are speaking without knowledge. For writers, its all the information available.
The University's athletic program is making sure it isn't burning any bridges, but information leaks from other institutions may have saved it a lot of grief. If the leaks had not hit electronic and print media last week, the negotiations between the WAC and BYU would have continued in silence and perhaps an agreement would have been signed. Then Nevada and Fresno State may still have bolted the WAC, leaving BYU contractually stuck in a shrinking league instead of with the options currently available.
Eborn blogged about Utah State's situation, detailing Utah State's president Stan Albrecht's busy schedule trying to figure out how things will shake out for the Aggies and, the team pushing dominos, BYU. It isn't hard to imagine that things on the Cougar's side are equally wild with conference calls, meetings and electronic communication of all kinds.
Reports that BYU would make an announcement Thursday proved to be false and it seems likely the only real deadline for the Cougars declaring independence is the September 1 deadline that the MWC has for teams leaving its conference without penalty, at least for this season.
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