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

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  • Ragnar Danneskjold
    Aug. 20, 2010 9:08 a.m.

    Re: Utah Fan2
    I only threw 2 people under the bus (and only in their views on this subject). I also pointed out that some people don’t feel like all of the students are representing the church well. This is a football message board, and the comment is obviously geared towards football fans and a persons right to dislike a fan of another school regardless of their religion.
    You somehow translated this into “hat(ing) an entire institution”. You then somehow think that citing an example that proves my point is a terrific comeback.
    Your first sentence is a perfect example of the immature view I was referencing. Someone says that not all BYU students represent the church as well as we can all hope, and you say, “good, faithful, LDS BYU students” are thrown under the bus. Your problem is simple. You cannot separate the church from the students. If someone says that they don’t like a student at BYU, somehow they are saying that the entire church is mismanaged.
    Can you not see how immature that is?

  • Captain L
    Aug. 19, 2010 7:06 p.m.

    East Coast Westerner: Your right to alot of people sports don't matter at all and they could care less. That is fine, sports aren't really important they are just entertainment. The point I was making was to those who love sports and sports are a big part of their lives.
    My comments were more to the fact that if you are a good LDS you should be positive and supportive of the churches school.

  • East Coast Westerner
    Aug. 19, 2010 6:05 p.m.


    I am a Utah transplant to CT. I cheer for the Y, but I have to say most of the people (other than other Utah transplants which make up about 30% of our ward) are indifferent at best towards Y atheltics. Some of them have children attending the Y, but even they aren't all that adament about Y athletics, certainly not more so than their favorite teams (typically the shcool they attended back in the day).

    Anyway, I think most of them would scoff at the idea that supporting Y athletics is requisite of good membership. Animosity towards the Y would be dumb, but I don't think most of them really care if Y athletics succeeds or not.

    They certainly want to see the church and missionary work progress (of course), but I don't think most of them see college football as a major vehicle for that.

    Take my POV for what it's worth. I've only lived out here for 6 years so my perspective may be wrong, but that is generally the feeling I get. My LDS friends here in CT haven't a care about today's news regarding independence.

  • Dig Dug
    Aug. 19, 2010 5:47 p.m.

    RE: Captain

    Great, at least I don't want people thinking (which has been the case unfortunately) that to route for the U is to forfeit all belief in the church.

    It is regrettable that such a loud, obnoxious group has seem to taken hold of what used to be a very enjoyable rivalry. As I have already recounted, I have had some ridiculous experiences with zealous Y fans that have frankly embarrassed me in front of some non-LDS friends and family.

    Like you, I try and explain to them to please not judge the whole organization by a thoughtless few. It is very easy and tempting to do, but not the right thing to do.

    I wouldn't go so far to point the finger and generalize by saying I have a problem with "the fans." I (and hopefully you too) have a problem with some of the fans that create all of this nonsense hatred.

    I am fighting to wrest the rivalry back into the moderates control (for our own enjoyment). Hopefully, both sides can get over themselves and find a weekend to play.

  • Captain L
    Aug. 19, 2010 5:23 p.m.

    Re DigDug: Your right President Monson and many of the brethren root for both the Utes and the Cougars but they don't criticise or find fault or be negative about either school, that is the difference. What Buzz is saying and I agree is how can good active LDS members be so negative and critical of BYU (the churches school), they should root for them & want the best for them. There are self righteous fans but that is not the University or the Church and comments should be towards those fans and not towards BYU and their sports programs.
    I hope and want the best for the University of Utah but I have a hard time with many of the Ute fans who are so negative, critical and demeaning of BYU. That is not the Universities doings, it is the fans and like I said it is the fans I have a problems with.

  • Dig Dug
    Aug. 19, 2010 5:23 p.m.

    RE: Ibleedcrimson.

    Believe it or not, I have met a few non-LDS Y fans. They are mostly relics from the 80's who latched on to the only local team worth any effort to cheer for from the 80's; can't blame them there, I was a big Y fan back then myself.

    However, in terms of these persons relating football and the church's message, hardly. I'm sure it helps get some name recognition to people who only pay attention to sports, maybe a nice ice breaker for the missionaries (not for me in South America though). I do wonder about the preaching nature of the program. I haven't been able to hammer that one out myself.

    Is there anyone who could share with us some examples of missionary work through Y athletics? Perhaps some non-LDS recruits were converted? Not sure, please someone fill me in if you can; Thank you!

  • Dig Dug
    Aug. 19, 2010 5:18 p.m.

    Amen Real Bass!

    I still have my Rick's t-shirts (though they are pretty worn out now). I would love to see that program back up there. That was a class act, nothing prominent on the national stage, but I did enjoy their athletics back in the day; not to mention a more original name!

  • CRM
    Aug. 19, 2010 5:15 p.m.

    Lou Holtz saying that "teams want to play Notre Dame, but no one wants to play BYU" is a positively unbiased and revelatory comment. Who did he coach for so many years --- and who did the Y beat when he coached them?

    That being said, we are much smaller image wise then we think we are, but that can be said of 99% of all institutions when juxtaposing the ardency of their fans. We are who we are.

    Tithing does not contribute one $ to BYU athletics --- so dismiss that notion.

    And yes, it is all about exposure, image, marketing and missionary work. Our mission is to carry the message of the restored work to every nation (people), what they do with it is up to them. If they, like Buzz, convert -- wonderful, if they don't that's okay too. At least they exercised choice.

  • Utah Fan2
    Aug. 19, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    Ragnar Danneskjold

    Sounds to me like you're throwing the vast majority of good, faithful, LDS BYU students under the bus because of the poor example of a few.

    Which is exactly what many good, faithful, BYU-hating LDS members do.

    It's fine to have a rivalry. To cheer for, and be proud of, and maybe even a little boastful your own team, within reason.

    But to hate an entire institution because you don't like seeing your favorite sports team lose to them is ridiculous.

    Max was both right, and wrong.

    Right, in that many Utah fans are classless and are more BYU haters than they are Utah fans.

    Wrong, in that he shouldn't have judged an entire institution based on the boorish behavior of a minority of Utah fans.

    The same goes for classless BYU fans, although I've never run into any BYU fans who are simply Utah haters.

  • Real Bass
    Aug. 19, 2010 4:17 p.m.

    It's time to bring sports back to BYU-Idaho and give them their name back too...Ricks!

  • Ibleedcrimson
    Aug. 19, 2010 4:00 p.m.

    Im curious? Is there such thing as a non Mormon BYU fan?

    I'm a Utah fan but don't mind watching BYU football because they have a quality product year in and year out. But I have to say never once was my interest peaked in the "message" the church is trying communicate to the world at large by watching their games.

    Guys it's just football it's not a holy crusade.

  • Cougars - Wise Older Brothers
    Aug. 19, 2010 3:58 p.m.

    Sorry superute,

    BYU really doesn't care how relevant you or Dan Patrick or any other talking head "thinks" BYU is.

    Utah fans criticizing BYU's plans to go independent are just demonstrating how insecure they really are.

    You obviously don't understand that money is only a very small part of the reason BYU is considering going independent.

    ALL of BYU's sports would be benefit from increased exposure by ridding BYU of the awful MWC television contract and regaining control of BYU's own brand.

    BYU really doesn't care whether you or any of the other BYU haters ever watch another BYU sporting event, because this isn't about you or the U. It's about the millions of BYU fans and others who do find BYU sports interesting to watch.

  • Katoonka
    Aug. 19, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    Mr. Harmon,

    You article provides perfect insight into the priceless, honorable motivations driving this quest.

    It's an exciting time to be alive.

  • Skippy
    Aug. 19, 2010 3:36 p.m.

    Lou Holtz said it best about BYU wanting to go independant...Schools want to play Notre Dame...nobody wants to play BYU!

  • Dig Dug
    Aug. 19, 2010 3:09 p.m.

    RE: Just Truth

    Agreed. Hatred of anything is hardly ever justifiable; especially when it comes to college sports.

    I had a neighbor whose family was raped, beaten, and beheaded in front of him and his little sister in Africa, and he does not hate the people who did that. Comparatively, how could any of us hate one another? (especially over football?)

    Certainly there are those that use anything to make fun of the church; Any anti-LDS person can find any reason to attack the church, with our without sports. Nonetheless, lets not confuse this with someone simply cheering for an athletic team other than than Y.

    More than once I had fellow ward members complain about me sporting a Utah Alumni license plate and cheering for Utah. I even had one member ask that I be released from the high council since I was not an "ardent Y fan." Wow, I wasn't quite sure how to react to that one except to laugh!

    I want to at least point out that some of my grievances against some of the Y's fans are justified. Does this mean I secretly hate the church? Of course not!

  • Ragnar Danneskjold
    Aug. 19, 2010 3:04 p.m.

    It's very hard to respond to people like Buzz and Just Truth. The only way I can describe your thoughts are as immature. In terms of both the real world, and spiritually, your views are immature.

    Let's just say that yes, all LDS members would hope that BYU students represent the church in the best way possible. But the difference is in how people view the representation that those students are actually giving.

  • Just Truth
    Aug. 19, 2010 2:10 p.m.

    Buzz told it like it is. He's exactly right. LDS people who hate BYU are completely mystifying.

    No one is asking all Mormons to be BYU fans, but there's no reason to hate what BYU represents and stands for, especially if you are LDS.

    By the anti-BYU comments from LDS Utes on every BYU sports article it gets harder and harder to believe that LDS Utes back the Church, since it is the Church that backs BYU and BYU's policies after all. For example, the BYU honor code is backed by Church leaders, so if you are LDS and you have a problem with the Church being represented by BYU, then that's your problem, and your opinion is opposite the Church's.

    I'm no fan of Utah, but being LDS I like that there are LDS Utes and I admire them for who they are and how they try to live by the values we all embrace--when they are trying to live those standards--and aren't hating others who are also just trying to live by standards.

    BYU & LDS must represent the Church well & all else is secondary to that.

  • Captain L
    Aug. 19, 2010 1:56 p.m.

    Eagle, your wrong, it's not about money/tithing. It is easy to see your mindset. It is amussing to see how so many people can't see the bottom line. Bringing the knowledge of the Restored Gospel to everyone is the bottom line. To think that bringing people into the church to obtain tithing as you were advacating is the reason they want exposure is incorrect. Gods purpose is to bring to pass the imortality and eternal life of man. Worldly things, money etc aren't real important and are only necessary to coexist in the world.

  • Pete in Texas
    Aug. 19, 2010 1:51 p.m.

    Here's my $.02...

    I build LDS churches and have been doing it for the last 17 years. I'm not employed by the LDS church so this is, I think, a fair opinion of what it's like to be around the church and/or it's organization even with something as unassuming as construction. It may not be apparent if you aren't involved with it everyday, but just BEING around the LDS church or it's organization has a way of triggering something inside an individuals soul that makes some of them want to know more about the church. I think the church calls these folks "honest in heart". Even in construction, I've seen folks get taught and baptized simply by starting off working ON a church through construction.

    If BYU can TRULY get more exposure through going independent, there's no doubt in my mind that it can be a missionary tool. I would bet "the farm" on it. I wouldn't have believed it unless I saw it firsthand from what I do. God moves in mysterious ways. If conversion can work through something like construction, I know it will through going independent.

  • superute
    Aug. 19, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    Just listen to the national sports guys. Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome. They all said what most people know: BYU football is just not as relevant as BYU thinks it is. Plain and simple.
    There's a reason they're thinking of going independent: they're not getting very much money and they're not wanted in a BCS conference.
    If they're as great as their fans think they are, why aren't they getting special concessions from the MWC? Why aren't the Big 12 jumping at the chance to take them?

    You can call Utah greedy all you want for leaving. BYU would have done it in a heart beat, and this whole issue just proves that. The difference is that Utah knows where they stand. And fortunately for them, over the past decade, they were good enough, relevant enough, to merit an invite to a league that will pay them $18 million a year in TV revenue. The most BYU is hoping to get from a deal as an independent is $4 million (reported by ESPN).

    Killing your non-football sports by putting them in the WCC isn't worth $4M.

  • BleedCougarBlue
    Aug. 19, 2010 1:23 p.m.

    Buzz -

    You are an exceptionally wise man.

    Don't let the (supposedly) LDS BYU-bashers get under your skin because you are absolutely 100% correct. Massive change is coming. Both for BYU football and for those of whom you speak.

    Go BYU!

  • Dig Dug
    Aug. 19, 2010 1:04 p.m.

    Also, my first point in commenting here before taken aside... I certainly hope fiscal matters were considered. Making things self-sufficient and independent (!) are generally what the church is about. Certainly they can't do worse with TV money than the MWC currently offers, with any luck whatsoever the situation ought to improve.

    I do, however, feel bad for the other student athletes that are powerless (from the Y and all the MWC/WAC schools caught up in this) that could have a dramatic change in their lives. Good luck to all of them, hopefully their needs are considered in all of this and we don't have BYU tack vs. ITT tech!

  • CougarSportsTalk
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:56 p.m.

    Until we know all the facts, most of this is just speculation.

    Yes, there are more BYU fans outside of Utah than there are Ute fans.

    Yes, BYU fans want to see their games.

    Yes, BYU wants sports writers to see their games.

    No, BYU's top priority is not money.

    No, BYU does not think it is Notre Dame.

    BYU has a lot to offer and sitting in the MWC on a network with very limited distribution does not cut it. BYU thought the MTN would be better than it is. Part of the failure is the requirement to evenly split exposure. Who really wants to see Wyoming play New Mexico? BYU has had incredible ratings on ESPN. With ESPN's help, BYU can get what it tried to get in the MWC.

    Ute Fans - Please remember your log in name is posted above your comments before you type something saying you are a BYU fan. Just because you have football "tradition" that dates back to about 2004, don't forget what led to your invite to the PAC 10. If you are now so much better, avoid comments you could not say before you joined a BCS conference.

  • Buzz
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:41 p.m.

    I take umbrage of the fact that I keep hearing Ute fans bring money up as if there is a problem with it.

    I have yet to hear anyone tell me why it is so bad.

    Also let me emphasize that while money is PART of the reason it is not the MAIN reason. It just helps it along.

    Help me understand your bird analogy... sorry sometimes I don't read things too easily.

  • eagle
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:31 p.m.

    Come on Dick, exposure is ultimately about money as it will lead to money. Even if exposure is about spreading the word about the church via BYU football which leads to more converts it about the money (through tithing). Or most likely it is about the direct income that comes to BYU through exposure and TV dollars.

  • Dig Dug
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:21 p.m.

    Whoa! Hatred for the Y? Now you're putting words in my mouth. I have nothing of the sort. I have a daughter attending the Y as we speak! I think this whole hatred thing needs to be toned down. The rivalry has gotten way out of hand, and I can't help but be less than proud of behavior I've seen from both sides.

    Why do sports have to determine who or where I am spiritually? Why does the Y or U football team matter to you (or me) regarding religion? I think you are extremely overstepping the bounds of what is important here!

    Again, very harsh judgments and hatred coming from you for something that frankly, isn't that important! Sure it's fun, but lets not make college football something more than it is (this isn't the South after all where football = religion).

    Following your logic, I guess my stake president, old mission president, Elder Wirthlin, Pres. Monson et al aren't very good members of the church because the route for Utah. How silly! Again, be careful about making hurtful, silly statements over something as trivial as this.

  • Buzz
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:15 p.m.


    Yes I have noticed the same tendencies among my brothers and sisters no matter where I am and you make a good point. Perhaps that is another discussion for another day?

    I get that we are not perfect but we are still able to follow certain criteria quite perfectly. For example, I have not drank alcohol since I made the decision to stop after I became a member of the church.

    Yes my example is much more substantial than rooting for a sports team but my take goes beyond that. I don't see how any LDS member can hate anything that comes from the church. Maybe I called it wrong with you but you know there are many who are guilty.

    I appreciate your comments though. I am also guilty of being preachy... it's the convert in me. My non-LDS friends remind me of that all the time.

    @Big Ben- No one is telling you to read my comments. Take action and just ignore them but I will be silenced because you think my comments are "old." Whatever that means.

  • skywalker
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    Captain L

    Thanks for your comments.

    Although the security of staying in a conference, and being in an AQ conference would be even better, neither of those options seems imminent for BYU.

    Sure BYU could stand pat and hope that the MWC becomes a provisional AQ conference in 2013 and BYU could hope that the MWC would negotiate a decent television contract for 2016, but the chances of that happening are slim.

    BYU has the means to get greater exposure, get greater income, and reclaim control of its own brand now, so why wait?

    The upside is huge. The downside is a lot more work for Holmoe to complete a 12-game schedule. So BYU hires a couple more assistants to work full-time on BYU football scheduling issues; problem solved.

  • Utefan
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:03 p.m.

    Buzz...Buzz...thanks for not wrapping yourself up in the flag of exposure and admitting it is about the money. Nothing wrong with that! However, if there's nothing wrong with it then why take umbrage? Glad to see that you and I agree and that IS about the money!

    I just find it difficult to argue that two birds in the bush are worth more than a bird in the hand, but that is seemingly what folks like you are being asked to believe!

  • Calabasas_Coug
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:01 p.m.

    Great article. Go Cougars!

  • YtxPat
    Aug. 19, 2010 11:30 a.m.

    Will S., Why muck up BYUTV, because how much of Iris or Crafts can you take. I rewatch the classic games much more than I watch The Work and the Glory.
    I would like to see all of the volleyball games and the girls soccer(hair pulling).

    I graduated 30 years ago and my children have also graduated from BYU and we live in Texas. I like to record and rewatch conference and the Spoken Word, but other than that, BYU Sports seems to be the most watched TV in my house.
    I am a season ticket holder and make at least two games evry year. We will fill up the schedule. TxA&M would be happy to add us to their schedule.
    Next year, we will beat Texas again. I like the idea of a Jerry Bowl. Don't you think Oklahoma would like revenge? Utes will settle for Las Vegas.

    Go Pitt!

  • Captain L
    Aug. 19, 2010 11:29 a.m.

    Dick, this is a great article and hits the nail right on the head.
    As much as I love sports, BYU & Jazz, the only real important goal is exposure to the message of the Restored Gospel.
    Buzz: Good comments.
    TheSpiker: Good comments.
    livestrong: Good comments.
    Bugoff: Don't want to leave you out, Good comments.
    Actually there are alot of people's comments on here that are very good. It is good to see so many with positive comments and who can see and understand what is most important and what is really going on here.
    The negative comments are mostly from those who can't stand that BYU might be doing something positive and rewarding and they hate BYU's athletics and want to see them fail or suffer. Mostly Ute fans have been gloating, about going to the PAC 10/12 and don't like that BYU may be doing something to take the limelight away from their move.
    The work will go forward and anything that can help it will be used to promote the message of the Restored Gospel. That is the bottom line. And the only thing that is really important.

  • Utah'95
    Aug. 19, 2010 11:19 a.m.


    I am sorry for making you "cringe."

    I occasionally get "preachy," and sometimes am not very sublte in the process. But are you really telling me you haven't noticed similar tendencies among your fellow churchmembers in your 20-years of membership? If not, tell me where you live so I can move into your ward!

    "Mocking the Church" and joking about cultural tendencies and shortcomings - many of which I also have - are different things.

    You may not believe it, but I don't have any "hatred" in my heart toward BYU - I got my undergraduate degree there. But like others have said more eloquently, I'm not convinced that BYU athletics puts our best foot forward. The players and coaches, with rare exception, model good sportsmanship and maturity. But passionate fans (yes, even Utah fans like me) need to do a better job of following their examples.

    Did I mention that I tend to get preachy sometimes?

  • Utah Valley Guy
    Aug. 19, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    I'm laughing my can off at the hilarious ignorance and bias so many here are so willing to put on full display.

    "independence is stupid.

    independence means no bowl games (no BCS, No Vagus nor any other bowl games), less paid exposure (BYU TV would be great for reruns but would it result in better exposure, no), less money overall (how many games will ESPN Broadcast and at what times?"

    You're in Bizarro land! Every assertion made above is so completely backwards that the only explanation I can see is that it must be a Ute fan making them. :-)

    "the real reasons are 1)Jealousy, (Utah moving to the PAC-10) 2)Greed not enough money with MWC. 3) Pride Thinking they are to good for the MWC."

    What a hoot! This is just risible entertainment, even in its cynical bigotry.

    Thanks for the laughs, guys - I'm still chuckling.

  • skywalker
    Aug. 19, 2010 11:16 a.m.

    greed, Greed, GREED, pride and jealousy are the overwhelming reasons why Utah decided to move to the PAC 10.

    Now, Utah fans are projecting their own insecurities onto BYU, when the primary motivation for BYU going independent is exposure for BYU sports to help fulfill the mission of the church.

    Bronco has been consistent in his statements that winning football games is only 4th or 5th on his list of priorities in building the BYU football program. Friday night firesides before every BYU football game, home or away, are proof that this isn't just lip service. Community service projects are another one of Broncos' initiatives to get his players involved in service.

    If the MWC is hindering, rather than expanding, exposure to BYU's athletic programs, then it's time for a change.

  • Big_Ben
    Aug. 19, 2010 11:05 a.m.


    your stand up comedy was funny at first, now its just old. Its not funny. we get it, you are making fun of zealots. But please, just cut it out. Its getting old.

  • Buzz
    Aug. 19, 2010 10:56 a.m.


    Who cares if one of the reasons for this is about money?

    Is that bad? What are you trying to accomplish by making that statement?

    Do you think BYU is stupid? That they won't take into account financials when they make decisions?

    What is wrong with doing that? LDS people are taught to be prudent and to look for ways to prosper. Why is that bad?

  • bjspack
    Aug. 19, 2010 10:50 a.m.


    "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."

    The channel is capable of being broadcast in HD, but only if the programs that are being shown were filmed in HD. Also, broadcasting in HD costs more, so a lot of channels only broadcast certain things in HD that have a high interest.

  • Buzz
    Aug. 19, 2010 10:46 a.m.

    Whatever you say Dig Dug... I grew up a USC fan. When I joined the church it was a no brainer for me to start rooting for the Y.

    Why? Because my loyalty for the church trumps my sports loyalty.

    I have other convert friends who don't root for the Y but they don't hate them.

    Don't put words in my mouth. I know I put the mirror in front of you and you don't like what you see but don't think that I am saying you have to be an ardent Y fan if you are LDS.

    What I don't understand is the mocking and derision towards the Y by certain LDS fan.

    Comments like mine cut to the very center and I am not surprised that the guilty would take something like that and allow hatred for the Y to form. It's personal isn't it?

    When you have a testimony of the church, there should not be any hatred for anything that comes from it.

  • hellotoday
    Aug. 19, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    Look it might be about exposure to a degree. I think the real reasons are 1)Jealousy, (Utah moving to the PAC-10) 2)Greed not enough money with MWC. 3) Pride Thinking they are to good for the MWC. These are three things the LDS church teaches that if we follow will lead to a great fall. BYU I think you headed for a grerat fall.

  • Utefan
    Aug. 19, 2010 10:31 a.m.

    I read more about justification for a pending move and suspension of reality than I read anything about jealousy and hated oozing from off the hill! Utes are not shaking in our moccasins, nor do we care if BYU goes indy! I actually thought the headline in the Trib this morning summed it up best "BYU Goes Rouge"!! This move may be about increasing exposure and spreading the gospel, but to believe that it has nothing to do with money is naive. If the Y has to play 5 or 6 of what's left of the WAC weak sisters, it will not matter how many games ESPN gets them! Hitching one's stardom to what ESPN can do for you is to enter into a precarious financial relationship that has the Y's success determined by what ESPN chooses. Seems to me more like indentured servitude than independence.

  • RR
    Aug. 19, 2010 10:28 a.m.

    Buzz is actually right, and a hate-filled opponents will never see that. All members of the church should remember what Cecil O. Samuelson (a General Authority for the church) said about BYU: "The work at BYU is an essential part of the work of the Lord" or something very similar. BYU is not perfect, nor are its fans, but any LDS person knows the mission of the church, and BYU is one of those ways to fulfill its mission. I feel bad for those who need to hate on BYU and are active members of the church. I want to read what the apostles say about this when it's all done. That is what I'll believe.

  • Ragnar Danneskjold
    Aug. 19, 2010 10:10 a.m.

    Re: Buzz

    All I can say is WOW.

  • Dig Dug
    Aug. 19, 2010 10:05 a.m.

    That's right Buzz, one must be an ardent Y fan to be a faithful member of the church. I have no animosity towards the Y, but comments like yours are a big reason why so many LDS members get turned off from the Y (regarding athletics) over the years. I am an example of that, 18 years and counting.

    It seems that the church's message and trying to be competitive in athletics are all too often not compatible. It's a lofty and worthy goal, but I think too much is often sacrificed in the name of staying competitive in athletics. I don't know what the answer is for the Yl it's a tough position to be in.

    Anyway, be careful in criticizing members who are LDS and don't champion Y athletics. It is too broad of a statement to judge so many people on something as silly as football. I would hope LDS members could base their testimony on something stronger than supporting a particular football team. I would also hope that you would refrain from generalized judgments. Broad statements such as these tend to feed the animosity rather than alleviate it.

  • mussingaround
    Aug. 19, 2010 9:57 a.m.

    It's interesting to read the jealousy and hatred oozing from off the hill over a change that has absolutely nothing to do with the Utes.

    What's becoming increasingly obvious is that the Utes are shaking in their moccassins over the possibility of the Cougars stealing all of their thunder, in terms of national exposure, from the Ute's move to the PAC.

  • UtahUtes1
    Aug. 19, 2010 9:41 a.m.

    TheSpiker | 7:47 a.m. Aug. 19, 2010

    "Outsiders and church haters will never really understand what this is all about. To them winning and the sports program is all that matters."

    Hold on there, brother. Your comments are a bit over the top. BYU fans are masters at quoting meaningless W-L records from decades ago. You want to talk character? See Max Hall, Jan Jorgensen, Berry Lamb.

    It's too easy to say "We have had our missteps" and leave it at that. Sports brings out the worst in people, BYU players and fans as well. The objective in sports is domination of an opponent, not love and harmony.

    The objective of sports does not ring true with LDS values. Don't believe me? Ask all the people and athletes associated with what was once the WAC how they feel about BYU today.

  • Buzz
    Aug. 19, 2010 9:33 a.m.

    i joined the LDS church in California when I was 20. I moved to Utah and one the first things that astonished me was hearing so called LDS Ute fans ripping on BYU. Who's side are you on people? You sit there and rip on one of your church's entities? You have all this hatred for it because of jealousy and anger towards holier than thou Y fans. Get a grip and think about you are ripping on when you kick and mock the school.

    I see comments from people like Ute '95 and I cringe. This guy says he is lifelong LDS and then mocks how we do our missionary work? Someone has their priorities out of whack. Are all Ute fans so blinded by their hatred of the Y football program that they are willing to mock the church as well.

    My observation of this makes me wonder how valiant to the cause they really are.

  • Dig Dug
    Aug. 19, 2010 9:17 a.m.

    Pride and $$$, what a mess!

  • wayne
    Aug. 19, 2010 9:02 a.m.

    independence is stupid.

    independence means no bowl games (no BCS, No Vagus nor any other bowl games), less paid exposure (BYU TV would be great for reruns but would it result in better exposure, no), less money overall (how many games will ESPN Broadcast and at what times? game times was one of the major reasons the MWC started MTN in the first place), loss of rivalry games (no TCU, BSU, FSU, CSU UNLV, SDSU or Air Force)

    stop the madness, If BYU can get a separate deal fine. play a few more games on BYU TV simulcast them with ESPN or some other network but do not go independent.

    If BYU Goes independent. Fire Holmoe.

  • BleedCougarBlue
    Aug. 19, 2010 8:59 a.m.

    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.

  • SJ Bobkins
    Aug. 19, 2010 8:33 a.m.

    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.

  • Danocin
    Aug. 19, 2010 8:32 a.m.

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

  • wer
    Aug. 19, 2010 8:27 a.m.

    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?

  • Ernest T. Bass
    Aug. 19, 2010 8:14 a.m.

    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.

  • TheSpiker
    Aug. 19, 2010 7:47 a.m.

    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).

  • Class of 68
    Aug. 19, 2010 7:42 a.m.

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

  • livestrong
    Aug. 19, 2010 7:09 a.m.

    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.

  • UteExpat
    Aug. 19, 2010 6:59 a.m.

    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).

  • DRay
    Aug. 19, 2010 5:34 a.m.

    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...

  • Uteology
    Aug. 19, 2010 5:06 a.m.

    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.

  • Utah'95
    Aug. 19, 2010 4:52 a.m.

    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!

  • California Man
    Aug. 19, 2010 4:43 a.m.

    Spot on.

  • Will S.
    Aug. 19, 2010 3:30 a.m.

    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?

  • AZJazzFan
    Aug. 19, 2010 2:46 a.m.

    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.

  • rcal
    Aug. 19, 2010 2:29 a.m.


    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.

  • Bugoff
    Aug. 19, 2010 1:41 a.m.

    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.

  • superute
    Aug. 19, 2010 1:10 a.m.

    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.

  • Bugoff
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:59 a.m.

    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.

  • Bugoff
    Aug. 19, 2010 12:47 a.m.

    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.