Comments about ‘Dick Harmon: BYU's possible move to independence is all about increased exposure’

Return to article »

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 18 2010 11:00 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended

This article is dead on.

Further, BYU will replace BSU as the darling of ESPN. It is great for both BYU and ESPN.

BSU will now have to work under the burden of the MTN TV obscurity. They would be better off in the WAC with its TV deal. BSU will help the MTN. The MTN will crush BSU's hopes.


How about cutting a deal with Jerry Jones on a new bowl in the Taj Mahal? I suspect that could be done and decent sponsorship found.

Jerry is looking for a way to horn in on the big time bowls.

Even if it were for a non New Years Day bowl it would be better than the Vegas bowl. Jerry can cut deals that fill his stadium.


Some big assumptions. First, that added exposure for the football program is a positive image for the church.
We've all seen very public examples of poor sportsmanship, and while cases like Max Hall's tirade and fans fights with UNLV in the basketball tournaments are more the exception than the rule, those cases truly do more to hurt the church's image than winning against teams like San Jose State or New Mexico State do to help the image.

No, DH. The truth is, if it really is all about positive exposure and not about money, then BYU will still move forward as an independent in football (they would have done it before Utah left for more money), even after Craig Thompson crippled their plans to sabotage the MWC.

My guess is that they're going to stay put, because the deal suddenly became much less attractive for their other sports, and to ESPN. And even though you'd like to think that this was all about a more righteous motive, we'll see very clearly that this is all about money.


BYU averages 64000+ in home attendance. AF 36000, BSU 33000, CSU 23000, NM 27000, SDSU 24000, TCU 38000, UNLV 23000, Utah 45000, WY 19000.

It should not be to hard to schedule teams with at least as much home attendance.

Fresno and Nevada have 35000 and 17000 in attendance. Does not help much for the MTN.

BYU is ranked 27th in home attendance but could add another 25000 seats and be in the top 10 attendance ahead of NE, USC and OK. Right behind FL.

BYU need to expand its stadium again now as an independent.



BYU will have way better exposure with ESPN and BYUTV than staying in the MWC with Versus, CBSC, and The Mountain Channel. I wouldn't be surprised if BYU already has the BCS issue hashed out with ESPN as well. It will be interesting to hear what exactly BYU's contract with ESPN entails money wise as well. I've heard the rumors about how much they could get. Regardless, BYU will have much more exposure and with exposure also helps with the recruiting as well.


yes, going independent will provide more exposure nationally. The faith is the driver. They can gain only so much exposure by visiting Laramie and Abq every other year. I would like to know why the other sports outside of football can't stay in the MWC.

Will S.

Why muck up BYUtv with sports programming? Why not add a companion channel (let's call it the BYU Sports Network for sake of a better name right now) that can cross promote with BYUtv? Doesn't the new HD facility provide bandwidth for 3 more HD channels of programming?

California Man

Spot on.


From the top:

"It provides BYU flexibility in negotiating TV rights and establishing itself as an unencumbered brand in case the Big 12 decided to add two teams."

Funny, "encumbered" Utah and BSU were able to change conferences...

"The impending move will significantly bring BYU football and basketball more exposure nationally through ESPN."

That's IF ESPN wants to carry a lot of Cougar games. But with BYU's football record against ranked opponents (5-14 since joining the MWC) and their horrible NCAA Tournament record, why would they?

"Look no further than the brand Boise State has forged in a short time through ESPN."

Exactly. BSU "forged their brand" by WINNING high-profile games. Contrast that with BYU's record listed 2 paragraphs above.

BYU-TV was created to "enable its viewers to see the good in the world around them."

Do you really think BYU sports is an example of "the good in the world around them?"

"It is also a vehicle for the LDS Church to define itself without....hitting folks over the head with a preachy heavy two-by-four."

I say this as a lifelong LDS - ...but that's what we're best at!


Wasn't the MTN created in part to BYUs backing? Own it, you were one to push for it.

As far as exposure I thought BYU with all it's tradition and domination of the MWC it is one of the premier programs in the country?

I guess BYU fans were wrong, it really isn't about top 25 finishes with games in Vegas which happens to be on ESPN.


I agree with this article, that exposure is a key, but again would say you can't overestimate the importance of being "free to act, and not be acted upon" is to the LDS faith...sports is a great way to teach what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints is all about....many of the so-called experts on talk-radio just do not get it, that while winning, money, recognition are factors for anything BYU does, the key mission is to show the world that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is real and brings life "more abundantly" in every facet...the creative talent at the Y would have an opportunity to shine in broadcasting Y sports and influence, the first-class, state of the art broadcasting facilities are again only an echoing of that creed to show strength and goodness in having a total "style of our own," that honestly seeks to be a shinning light on a hill...


I am a big BYU fan and have been all my life (like the Utes too). Harmon's hyperbole, however, is getting nauseating. BYU's football program is a "light hidden under a bushel in the MWC"? That is ridiculous. If BYU wins the BCS National Championship, will that make people view us more favorably? Will they suddenly think we aren't polygamists, or that we read the Bible or believe in Jesus? If BYU is visible on ESPN every Saturday, are we somehow more trustworthy?

I don't know which is better (going independent or not), but I hope we're not counting on the football team to make our public opinion numbers look better. The football and other sport programs are great assets, particularly for developing character for the participants, but let's not get too dramatic about it. Is more exposure for the football team good for the Church? In some ways, I am sure it is. Probably not when the athletes commit personal fouls or behave in an unsportsmanlike way, or the fans fight with opposing coaches and players--unless we want to appear to the world to be "normal" (whatever that is).


No, this article is dead on. Exposure was the reason for making the move. But that doesn't mean it might not still fall through. Money may not be the main impetus for the move, but it can't be ignored, and if the WAC is too crippled that it doesn't make fiscal sense anymore, then BYU might stay put in the MWC.

But that doesn't change why they considered the move in the first place.

Don't underestimate how important BYU-TV is to getting the word out about the Church and university. My friend in Georgia said all her scrapbooking buddies knew and loved BYU-TV because it had the best scrapbooking shows, and then they stuck around to see devotionals and were impressed. Now BYU-TV would like to do something similar for the male audience. Draw them in with sports, and maybe they'll see the Church isn't so scary after all.

I agree that Max's tirade and things like that are huge steps backward. Hopefully that won't happen often. If it became too common, the Church would shut sports down that quick.

Class of 68

Great article Mr. Harmon. It seems most sportswriters misunderstand what drives BYU. You are spot on.


Outsiders and church haters will never really understand what this is all about. To them winning and the sports program is all that matters. That is why they will sell their souls in recruiting and look the other way when it comes to character or what is happening with the athletes that they have brought onto their campuses (USC anyone?). We have had our missteps. Our players make mistakes in what they say and do. But there is no comparison in the purpose of our programs or the type of athletes that we attract to other institutions. BYU sports simply has a different mission to fulfill (pun intended).

Ernest T. Bass

Why do they need more exposure? They are still supported by a large number of LDS households and their recruiting is mostly limited to that same group.
How is going independent going to increase exposure? They'll still mostly play in the west, football fans in the west already know who they are.
Their recruiting has been the same for the last 30+ years and will continue to be the same.
All this is doing is leaving several programs in the former WAC scrambling to recover.
Once again, Utah is the first domino to get things going. The exception is that nobody blamed Utah for leaving, everyone thinks byu is just being self serving and arrogant for what they're doing.


I don't understand how the state of the art TV capability is HD. The BYU TV channel I receive on cable in not high definition.

Is the HD coming or am I missing something?


So maybe, for once in your existence, you can swallow your ego and give the real reason why this has suddenly became an option.......

SJ Bobkins

Thanks Dick,
I have been whining for 4 years+, that I, a long time contributor to BYU and BYU Athletics can't see any football or basketball games in Arizona, along with the 400,000 other Desert State members. The Alumni doesn't end at the Utah border, why should the televised coverage of BYU sports via the invisible airwaves end at such a point? The "mushroom network" created as the MWC presidents "Evil Spawn," was a huge mistake at precisely the wrong time. Does it really matter if another BYU president was part of the creation? It was shortsighted, incredibly naive, and just plain stupid. Do we have to remain with our mistakes, or are we given the right to examine, refocus, and leave the past in the rearview? Apparently the administration has done so, Independence is the new route. What ignited the idea into action? I don't think it had much to do with whatever Utah did, the key was the Oklahoma-BYU 2009 opener, when BYU proved it belonged on the same field at last year's runner-up, and did so with zillions of eyes having an interest is seeing it happen.


100% agreed.

BYU possibly going independent is not about money, it's about exposure.

BYU, because of the LDS church, already has all the money it needs to operate at a high level of success (recruiting trips, nice facilities, decent salaries for coaches, etc). Yes, tithing helps pay for all this.

So it's not about money. It's about exposure.

If BYU is reasonably confident it can be more like Notre Dame and not like Navy, I say go for it.

Seems like a bummer to leave the MWC now that we finally have an opportunity to play Boise State but anti-BYU whiners as well as many devout BYU fans have been clamoring for years to see how good we really are and scheduling more good teams via independence gives us that chance.

If the PAC-10 (12) or other major conferences don't find us appealing and won't help us sell ourselves then we'll have to do that on our own.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments