Did you happen to hear all those nice, thoughtful things that Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson had to say about BYU when the Cougars announced last week that they were leaving the league?
Yeah, me neither.
Seems like the conference commish could've taken the high road and thanked BYU for all that it's brought to the MWC in its 11-year history.
Sure, I didn't expect any hugs, flowers or sentimental tears regarding a relationship that seemed to have suddenly turned sour.
But, come on now, perhaps a kind word or two to the Cougars on their way out the door, thanking them for their contributions in helping make the league what it is today, would've been appropriate.
Nope, ain't gonna happen.
Instead, here's the official statement that Thompson issued after BYU announced it was leaving the Mountain West to go independent in football and compete in the West Coast Conference in other sports: "Since its inception, the Mountain West Conference has worked strategically to grow and strengthen the league, in order to position itself at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. Our board of directors' diligent exploration of options to advance the membership's objectives is ongoing. This includes conversations with our television partners to address issues of mutual importance, as well as determining the optimal configuration for the conference and investigating the possibility of various collaborative alliances. We look forward to the future with great excitement — particularly welcoming recent additions Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada into the Mountain West."
Notice anything missing from Thompson's blowhard statement? Maybe just three little letters: BYU.
Yep, he didn't even mention 'em.
No "Hey, thanks for coming," or "We wish you well." Not even a "Don't let the door hit you in your backside on the way out."
Indeed, along with any acknowledgment of all the Cougars' contributions, the only other thing missing was, "... and if elected, I promise to blah-blah-blah ..."
Oh, sure, Thompson mentioned Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada — who haven't done a darn thing for the league yet — but couldn't even utter BYU's name.
There must've been some serious acrimony behind closed doors during the last couple of weeks after BYU's bid to bolt the MWC brought on the defections of Fresno State and Nevada from the WAC.
BYU officials were much more gracious toward the MWC in their farewell announcement. But who knows? Maybe somebody from Provo made some wisecrack about Thompson's ever-perfect hairdo and hurt his feelings. (OK, I admit it, I'm jealous of his hair).
But that's OK, because in the end BYU got what it wanted — a lucrative TV deal with ESPN, which will not only buy a lot of jockstraps but, most importantly to the Cougars' program and profile, give them the kind of national exposure (along with BYUtv) that they have craved and haven't ever been able to receive from their affiliation with the MWC or The mtn. network.
Of course, football scheduling becomes an immediate concern for the soon-to-be independent Cougars, who begin their flying-solo journey in 2011. And the WCC doesn't even offer competition in swimming, softball or track and field.
But a three-game series with perennial powerhouse Texas is on the horizon, plus a six-game series with Notre Dame, the kingpin of independent teams with rich TV contracts.72 comments on this story
No doubt, there will be some creampuffs on the Cougars' football schedule, too.
But then, you'll usually find a few on everybody's schedule.
So, to paraphrase a famous quote from my favorite (and arguably the greatest) BYU quarterback of all time, Jim McMahon, it's very possible that BYU's favorite memory of the Mountain West Conference will be seeing it in the Cougars' rear-view mirror.