BYU football: Cougars won't be joining Big East

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 22 2011 6:00 p.m. MST

Another source with knowledge of the talks between BYU and the Big East told the Deseret News, "The issue remains that the Big East wants to work on getting BYU in. They have what they think is a fair deal that shows that if they work together they will make more money off a new TV deal. They are willing to make sure BYU gets as much per game or more than they do now. The BYU lawyers are unwilling to move much. The Big East keeps working to get a deal done. BYU has a problem from the members. You have Georgetown, UConn, Notre Dame and the rest have huge egos and they are growing tired of doing all they can to support BYU ... but it seems it is starting to be too much. One Big East school rep told me, 'BYU does know that (Boise State) is the real prize here, right?' Being part of a conference is working together as one team. For the first time since BYU and the Big East started this process, member schools are wondering why BYU is being so difficult."

The Associated Press reported that "the Big East was trying to add BYU as part of its plan to expand westward and become a 12-team football league. At issue are television rights. The person says BYU wanted to retain the rights to its home football games and the league could not agree to that. No other school in major college football playing in a conference has such a deal."

"If the Big East does not have the television rights to BYU's home games, it would affect the Big East's upcoming negotiations for its new media rights deal with ESPN, NBC-Comcast and/or Fox," wrote Brett McMurphy of CBSSportsline.com. "There are no schools in any of the BCS AQ conferences that retain their home television rights, only those schools that are independents. BYU is in its first year as an independent after leaving the Mountain West and last year signed an eight-year deal with ESPN, which would have to be reworked if the Cougars joined the Big East. The hold-up with BYU has brought the Big East's expansion plans to a standstill. That's because the league wants to announce SMU, UCF, Houston and Boise State as new members together along with either BYU or Air Force or both schools. However, Boise State will not commit to the Big East until it has another Western partner, and Air Force does not plan to make a decision until after the regular season ends on Saturday."

A source with knowledge of the talks between BYU and the Big East told the Deseret News, "Despite the fact the Big East is losing some members, there are some very proud members like Georgetown, Notre Dame and the others are willing to help BYU join their club, but that support is being tested and they are prepared to offer San Diego State the BYU spot if there is not a move toward a partnership ... So the Big East lawyers are doing all they can to make BYU happy while keeping all the members happy. I should say everyone loves the BYU athletic director and president. They like the school and their fans. The lawyers they are not too crazy about."

Contributing: Dick Harmon

Email: jeffc@desnews.com

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