This is part four of four in a series regarding BYU's potential inclusion in the Bowl Championship series and the Big 12 conference. Part three reviewed issues relating to BYU's high-definition international television network, BYUtv. In this article, Ryan Teeples addresses issues relating to personal bias Big 12 members could conceivably carry against BYU.
Plain dislike, perceived threats or religious bigotry
Finally, we get to the stuff nobody really wants to talk about. The proverbial elephant in the room. Well, at risk of mixing metaphors, the only way to eat that elephant is one bite at-a-time. So here goes.
Some schools’ leadership may have a bias against BYU that’s not related to TV logistics or dollars and cents. For many reasons, they just plain may not like the beloved anchor institution of Provo.
TCU’s Gary Patterson has said plenty. Oklahoma State mega-booster T. Boone Pickens bashed BYU in the media. Remember, it only takes three schools to say "Nah..." to BYU as an option for expansion.
Whether fans and BYU brass like it or not, BYU is seen as a prima-donna. In some cases that reputation may be deserved. In others it’s a result of sour grapes from institutions with much weaker cash flow that BYU subsidized for decades in the WAC and MWC. In any case, reputation is a factor in the tight-knit community of academia.
Also, don’t discount the fact that some schools perceive BYU as a threat in the pecking order in the conference. Keep in mind these statistics:
—BYU’s TV market is bigger than all but the Texas and Kansas schools.
—BYU's enrollment would be second highest in the conference.
—BYU's facilities are on par or better than any other member school, save the aforementioned Longhorns and Sooners.
—In terms of size and attendance, Lavell Edwards Stadium would be the third-biggest football venue in the conference, and the Marriott Center would be the biggest on-campus hoops site.
—BYU was ranked academically higher by US News and World Report than all current Big 12 member schools save Texas.
Clearly, BYU isn’t a little, religious school that will meekly do whatever it’s told. That’s TCU’s job.
And finally, even in 2013 after a Mormon nearly got to live in the White House, there are people who just are just plain religious bigots. I’m not making explicit reference to any specific person at any Big 12 institution, nor should my comments be construed as such. But bigots exist.
Putting a bow on it
The roadblocks that keep BYU out and the Big 12 from expanding are too much for Tom Holmoe—or anyone else—to overcome at present.
It’s said that the only constant is change. In college football during the last five years, the constant has been dramatic change.
Don’t give up yet, but leave Holmoe alone. Now you know what he’s up against.