The rise and fall: An inside look at the decline of BYU's marquee sports programs

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  • Yar Springville, UT
    Dec. 1, 2017 10:09 a.m.

    This is precisely why I don't take LGBT right groups seriously. It's not necessarily a bad policy to shoot for, but these days left leaning groups tend to abuse that goal for selfish reasons.

    I don't know if I've said this before, but I'll say spit it out. Our stance against homosexual behavior has nothing to do with hate or envy toward folks who want to engage in such activities or those with same-sex attraction. Our stance against it has more to do with morality. If you wish to disagree with this stance, more power to you. But I won't have religious folk or businesses marginalized by those who insist we must label immoral actions as "OK", "normal", or "acceptable" (and not just homosexual behavior, but any kind of immoral actions).

  • Crazy in California Acampo, CA
    Nov. 30, 2017 11:58 a.m.

    The inability, of the teacher to teach and the student to learn, played out on game day, this is why the problem was so confusing, hard to identify.

    This is why Sitake was so nebulous when talking about what needs to be done and why the frustration level and the pain was so deep.

    Everyone in the program knew that the team was better than the execution on the field.

    Practice execution, coaching, preparation, everything looked like it should be working.

    Detmer was telling the players what to do, but, on game day, when the battle began, when the stress was high--- they weren't executing.

  • Crazy in California Acampo, CA
    Nov. 29, 2017 3:49 p.m.

    I don't totally buy the arguments in the article. I don't think we know how good this years team could have been.
    Offensive ineptness this year wasn't so much because of lack of player talent or lack of football knowledge by the coaches. The problems had to do with the inability of Detmer, who, as a player, was more knowledgeable about his style of offensive football than most coaches, had to do with his inability to bridge the culture/style of the players with Detmer's culture/style. BYU players, for whatever reason, need more structure than Detmer provided. It's disappointing to me because I had hoped that the players would be inter directed, but that didn't happen enough. I think it's a cultural incompatibility that never got resolved.

  • Progressive BYU fan Orem, UT
    Nov. 26, 2017 11:15 p.m.

    I love BYU. But their policy towards BYU students who are LGBT does treat them differently than straight students, which is discrimination. The rest of the country, including the religious schools in the Big 12 have evolved on this issue and treat their LGBT students equally. It would be a win win if BYU changed its policy towards LGBT students, and then gained acceptance into the Big 12. That would be a win for everyone.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2017 9:18 p.m.

    @Captain Green
    "Let's be brutally honest. Jocks are not known for being especially studious in High School. They rely on their brawn to be popular. And they spend more time on the field practicing than studying. Consequently they don't get the good grades necessary to get into BYU. And "that" my fellow alumni is the problem in a nutshell! Academic standards have become so high"

    You know what happens when there's too many bowl slots for all the 6 win teams to fill? They put in some 5-7s based on order of APR (Academic Progress Rate).
    Northwestern and Air Force have the highest FBS ratings in APR at 995. Michigan is 3rd. Duke is tied for 4th with Minnesota. Vanderbilt. Navy. Wisconsin. Louisville. Stanford. Not a surprising top 10 there for the most part.

    Utah is tied for 16th at 983.
    Utah State is tied for 58th at 970.
    BYU is tied for 107th at 951.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2017 9:04 p.m.

    The PAC-12 requires a Tier 1 research program in the schools it takes on and the only way they'd consider an exception to that is if you are part of a too appealing to resist package deal (like Tier 2 Oklahoma State would be considered if they're coming along with Tier 1s Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech).

    This is why the PAC has shown zero interest in adding San Diego State (tier 2), UNLV (tier 2), Nevada (tier 2), and especially not Boise State (tier 3).

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Nov. 26, 2017 6:27 p.m.

    @keithlue - Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:58 a.m.
    Interesting read, but such pathetic excuses. Bottom line, stop condemning others and being superficial - embrace diversity.

    -----

    Honest question: Is "embrac(ing) diversity" code for "homosexual activity is really morally acceptable so drop the honor code"?

    Yes, that is an honest question.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Nov. 26, 2017 6:27 p.m.

    Ahhh....I get to about the 3rd comment on here and I see good old-fashioned rudeness and arrogance coming from Utah fans. What else is new?

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Nov. 26, 2017 6:21 p.m.

    Article quote: "BYU bet it eventually would earn an invitation to join a Power 5 conference. That would have been a winning wager if invitations were based on the merit of their athletic program, but politics and societal changes brought negative impacts.
    When the Pac-10 passed on BYU, it was widely reported that it was because BYU was not a research institution. Others pointed to the elephant in the room. Mendenhall, BYU’s head coach at the time, told KSL Newsradio in 2011 that the newly formed Pac-12 "made it very clear that it did not want a religious-based school.” In other words, Pac-12 schools lean far to the left politically and weren't open to the inclusion of a conservative church school, never mind all the talk about diversity."

    Bingo.

    And, in my opinion, I seriously doubt that now BYU will "ever" get invited to a P5 conference. Why? Too much power being given to liberals as a whole, and to the pro-homosexual crowd, specifically. I think independence is where we're going to be stuck as long as football is played.

    Go Cougars!

  • Former Coach ,
    Nov. 26, 2017 3:22 p.m.

    @Poyman,

    Perhaps I am stepping out of line and missing something in your exchange with 7 in a row, excuse if that is the case. Your comment that it is a fact that Utah only has 1 win this year against Bowl bound teams and that was in OT is not a fact. Utah beat Arizona, in regulation, Utah beat UCLA, in regulation. I expect both Arizona and UCLA to go bowling this year.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 26, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    @7

    Here's another fact for you... utah has just one win against a bowl bound team this year and that was in OT... Hardly chest pounding marerial... That's the stuff that really fans the flames.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 25, 2017 11:36 p.m.

    @7 from Ogden

    "Leave it to Poyman to come up with more excuses. Some in the vocal 3% will always be in denial. Your politics ‘fan the flames’. "

    and

    "...The bottom games happened to be against several ‘bottom 20’ teams. And there were plenty..."
    ******
    You really should do your homework... PSU is an FCS school (not included in the rankings)... and BYU won 4 of those 6 games (despite having a very weak team this year.

    The point is that the utes wins were against poorly rated teams. BYU and SJSU were bottom 10 teams according to ESPN and SI... They nearly lost to a bottom 10 team... If you throw in the FCS win the utes had 50% of their wins against very weak teams and they easily could have lost the game against BYU.

    You want to call it "spin"... or "excuses" go ahead, it's actually pretty typical of many of your comments. Most Coug fans call it both "fact" and "truth". If I have said something wrong... please point it out.

  • Edmunds Tucker St George, UT
    Nov. 25, 2017 7:49 p.m.

    It will all work out in the end, if it hasn't worked out, it's just not the end. quote from Professor Mark Choate, BYU. The Big 12 is the buckle of the Bible belt, and it has two openings, which they will fill in due time. Last week, President Trump hosted the NCAA champs from 18 sports, 4 from Oklahoma and 1 from West Virginia (Big 12 had 6), 3 from the Pac 12, and 3 more from Big 10, 3 more ACC, 2 southeast, none ivy league,
    The MOTAB sang at the inauguration, and the Big 12 will invite BYU in. TCU stands for Texas Christian University, Baylor is Baptist. All the Big 12 schools are Red on the map. Perhaps BYU should change its colors from Blue and white to Red and white.

  • land of oz Redmond, WA
    Nov. 25, 2017 6:08 a.m.

    5 days,

    and Ute fans are still drawn to this article like moths to a light bulb...

    BYU obsessed much!

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 4:18 p.m.

    @Motorbike:

    NO!

  • Former Coach ,
    Nov. 24, 2017 11:48 a.m.

    I also failed to mention that your numbers are biased towards BYU. You count all their P5 opponents, yet fail to add the 10 wins Utah has had in the same time frame over P5 opponents. Thus making Utah 37-35 (51%) over that time period. For the sake of comparison BYU is 4-10 against the PAC 12 during that time period.

  • waikiki_dave Honolulu, HI
    Nov. 24, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    Good article. A comment about the negative impact against BYU from joining other power conferences because of opposition by gay groups . . . . the Church made that decision, not BYU. I'm not sure the Church anticipated how strong the negative publicity would impact the school. In any event, it didn't do BYU any good.

  • Former Coach ,
    Nov. 24, 2017 11:32 a.m.

    @Marked it Down,

    I think you missed something in your research for BYU vs P5 Schools.

    2011: Ole Miss, Texas, Utah, Oregon State, TCU, 2-3.
    2012: Washington St. Utah, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, 2-3.
    2013: Virginia, Texas, Utah, Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Washington, 2-5.
    2014: Texas, Virginia, Cal, 3-0.
    2015: Nebraska, UCLA, Michigan, Missouri, Utah, 1-4.
    2016: Arizona, Utah, UCLA, W. Virginia, Michigan St. Miss St, 3-3
    2017: LSU, Utah, Wisconsin, Miss. St, 0-4.

    My math shows 13-22 for a percentage of 37%. You are right about Utah not beating a team from the Big 12 or SEC though, However, Utah has not lost to one of them either. Utah also finished with a record of 9-4 last year and played 11 P5 teams. You are also correct about the bowl games, Utah has only been in 4, possibly 5 after tomorrow. BYU has been in 6 and that might not change next year. I don't think the best way to build your program back up will be by tearing your rivals down. Utah has their own problems, but BYU fans would trade places in a second.

  • mightymite , 00
    Nov. 24, 2017 11:15 a.m.

    Sue to get into a conference based on religious bigotry? BYU is smart then that and does not want to open up that can of worms. There are too many skeletons and even existing policies byu would not want to be scrutinized in a counter suit. The university and the church has had and currently has many blurry line along sexism and racism that could be seen as scandalous. BYU tax exempt status would be at stake by opening up this can of worms. Never going to happen, byu is well aware of the consequences of pushing too hard in this arena.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 10:55 a.m.

    ND95CA

    "You're the weakest team in the weakest division of the P12."
    --------------
    And yet there's not one Cougar fan when being 100% honest that wouldn't gladly trade Utah positions in a split second.

  • deductive reasoning Arlington, VA
    Nov. 24, 2017 10:51 a.m.

    7 in a...

    "This is about a pattern of decline, not one season."

    What pattern of decline?

    This is BYU's first losing season since 2004.

    Last season, BYU was 9-4, with a bowl win.

    All four losses were by a combined 8 points, with a missed two-point conversion being the difference between beating or losing to Utah.

    The reality is, this year's struggles are the perfect storm results of a very tough opening schedule, a new and relatively inexperienced coaching staff, lots of young players, and a rash of injuries (38 players from BYU's two-deep have missed one or more games because of injuries).

    It has nothing to do with Independence.

  • ND95CA Lincoln Park, IL
    Nov. 24, 2017 10:39 a.m.

    7 in a row!

    What's your definition of success?

    Being a perennial P12 South bottom dweller and fighting Colorado for basement supremacy?

    You're the only team in the P12 South that hasn't won a division title.
    The P12 South has never won the CCG.

    Bottom line:

    You're the weakest team in the weakest division of the P12.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 10:26 a.m.

    BYU should shut down athletics. With one major program left in the state we could all band together to watch one really great set of teams. We could even combine mascot/nicknames to be either the Cutes or the Utoobs. No?

  • 7 in a row! Ogden, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 10:14 a.m.

    The vocal 3% just doesn’t get it - probably too prideful.

    Your definition of ‘independence being sustainable’ is not the same as the ‘great ones’ definition. BYU needs a balanced conference schedule.

    I’ve never discussed cancelling a sports program. Some of you are a little sensitive. Just go back and try to understand why LaVell Edwards and many of his vocal players strongly recommended being in a conference.

    Try to stay on topic. This is about a pattern of decline, not one season.

    Winning a few games against a few P5 teams that have a losing record on a given year doesn’t mean success.

  • Footballfan29 Myton, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 9:55 a.m.

    If BYU were smart they would sue the LGBT group that ruined its chances of getting into the Big 12 for slander and tarnishing the brand BYU. Also, if the article truly is accurate they could sue the Pac 12 for religious discrimination. In fact they could sue any conference that doesn’t let them in for religious reasons. Maybe that’s the only option that BYU has right now.

  • Riddles in the Dark Olympus Cove, Utah
    Nov. 24, 2017 9:35 a.m.

    7 ina

    Why haven't you, or any other Utah fan, responded to BlueCoug with a reasonable explanation?

    ----------------------------

    After losing 7 in a row to BYU,

    sound familiar?,

    and finishing 1-10, 1-10, 3-8, 3-8

    from 1974 to 1977,

    why didn’t Utah cancel their entire athletic program?

    After all, it was obvious that Utah would NEVER be competitive again in any sport.

  • Marked it Down Park City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    7 row yer boat

    Trust the BYU haters and negative Nellies to accentuate the negative, while completely ignoring the positive.

    BYU finished 9-4 last year versus a schedule that included SIX P5 teams,

    and all four losses were by a combined 8 points.

    How does ONE bad season out of SEVEN (as Independent), prove that Independence isn't sustainable?

    As an Independent, BYU is 13-17(43%) versus P5 teams,

    has beaten teams from every P5 conference - Ole Miss, Oregon St, Washington St, Georgia Tech (twice), Texas (twice), Virginia, California, Nebraska, Mich St, and Miss St. -

    and has played in SIX bowl games.

    As a Pac-12 member, Utah is 27-35(44%) versus Pac-12 teams,

    hasn't beaten a single team from the Big 12 or SEC,

    and has only played in FOUR bowl games.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 9:24 a.m.

    And one more ting...
    In all of Utah's glorious Pac-12 achievements .....

    Out of nearly 100 Conference Championship awarded, since Chis Hill accepted the Pac's invitation and held a bouquet of Roses.........

    Eccles University has managed to win....

    Wait for it.....
    Wait for it....

    Count 'em....3 whole Conference Championships....( 3 )

    That my friends.....Has mid-major written all over it.

  • Uteofferouus Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 9:16 a.m.

    Wow it must be frustrating to be a Utah fan these days. Their football team is having a dismal season and may not make a bowl game. Finishing near the bottom in the PAC-12 year-after-year sure doesn't do much to inspire. That said, I admire Utah fans for sticking with their team and filling up their stadium. I hope BYU can find a way to solve it's football problems but it sure isn't a given that they can.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 9:16 a.m.

    The University of Central Florida was 0-12 two years ago and are now 10-0 this year and ranked #13.

    In fact, the AAC has 3 Top 25 teams as of now in Football and if BYU were to ever join a conference this would be the one. Take Air Force, Colorado State and Boise State with them.

    All this ...
    "The sky is falling on BYU" .... from Ute fans, is just more wishful thinking from insecure Eccles University dreamers, who have lived in BYU's shadow for 40 years.

    BYU will be back, Mark it Down, while still getting more National exposure as well.

    Everybody knows why BYU will never join one of the P-5 Conferences....Religious Bigotry and Political Correctness. The same reason Baylor was wedged out in the dark of night when the Pac was courting the Okie-Texas Six.

    As for Athletic prowess, Utah has not dominated a Conference since they were playing Kearns Rotary in the 30's and 40's.

    And The "u" (University of Miami is the actual "U"), aren't even in the same Tier as BYU Academically.

    BYU #61
    uofu #112

    BYU is a Top 30 Athletic Program, which encompasses all sports. You know, the sports the Pac-12 boasts when self identifying as Conference of Champions.

  • 7 in a row! Ogden, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 9:07 a.m.

    One thing the Cougars have managed this year... is to keep the Wisconsin Badgers out of the playoff picture.

    Wisconsin needs a tougher schedule to impress the committee. Still a few games left to go though.

    Sorry Brad Rock, you will need to come up with some new material now.

    He’ll just have to focus on firing coaches to sell his advertising.

  • 7 in a row! Ogden, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 8:56 a.m.

    Leave it to Poyman to come up with more excuses. Some in the vocal 3% will always be in denial. Your politics ‘fan the flames’.

    This year your top games happened to be against teams with winning records so it was understandable how they turned out. Overall, one of the toughest schedules in BYU history by any metric.

    The bottom games happened to be against several ‘bottom 20’ teams. And there were plenty:

    Portland State (0-11)
    East Carolina (3-8)
    San Jose (1-11)
    UNLV (5-6)
    UMass (4-7)
    Hawaii (3-8)

    Those 6 teams alone should of got you to 6 wins. Who plays that many cupcakes in one season?

    Answer: A smorgasbord independent schedule.

    It’s simple, BYU needs to be in a conference. Don’t believe me? Then you never listened to what folks like LaVell Edwards and others had to say about the subject.

    With a smorgasbord schedule you never know what your going to get season to season. This year, all your A games were A and above. Your C games were mostly ‘bottom 20 teams’. Not much in between.

    Couple this with some injuries, lack of depth, several years of independence you have what you have. And the schedule over the next few years is looking like more of the same.

  • BlueCoug Provo, UT
    Nov. 24, 2017 8:28 a.m.

    Serious question for Utah fans claiming that BYU should abandon its entire athletic program because of one losing season:

    After losing 7 in a row to BYU

    (sound familiar?),

    and finishing 1-10, 1-10, 3-8, 3-8

    from 1974 to 1977,

    why didn’t Utah cancel their entire athletic program?

    After all, it was obvious that Utah would NEVER be competitive again in any sport.

    Of course, Utah fans will try make some whiny excuse about how conditions were much different then, but the truth is ,

    BYU is in a MUCH stronger position now, than Utah was then.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 24, 2017 2:01 a.m.

    @stringerbell

    "...That was Utah’s challenging transition into the P5 world, which then was immediately followed by theee consecutive national rankings and inclusion in the CFP polls."
    ***********
    Lol... How is that working for you now that you are all familiar with the big bad world of pac12 P5 play? Let me help you... utah is 2-6 in the weakest division of P5 football... I say weakest division because a pac10 or pac12 team hasn't won the conference in nearly 10 years. While utah has come close to winning a couple of those 6 games that they have lost, but that only counts in horse shoes. At least that is what some ute fans told us last year when we lost only 4 games by a combined total of 8 points.

    2-6 in League and 3-0 OOC... But let's examine the wins... One was against an FCS team, two others were against teams that had been considered at the time as 2 of the worst FBS teams in America (and one of those was by a measly 6 points)... ouch... The 2 wins in conference were over a team that is only 3-5 in conference and had just lost their starting QB who's expected to be a 1st rounder next year.

    While BYU has an excuse (not in a P5 Conference)... utah has none.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 24, 2017 12:51 a.m.

    Lone*Star - Austin, TX
    Nov. 23, 2017 10:22 a.m.
    Uteology

    Are you really so naive that you actually think that class rankings are the end all, be all, of recruiting?

    If that were really true, Utah should just pack it in and accept perennial PAC 12 bottom dweller.

    -----

    I clearly said talent and coaching.

    Unfortunately for you, BYU has neither.

    You might as well pack it in and accept the fact that BYU is the state's perennial bottom dweller. You're fighting Utah State for 3rd, this year Weber State for 5th.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Nov. 23, 2017 11:17 p.m.

    Allan,

    There are 115 Tier 1 research universities in the US, and BYU isn’t one of them.

    BYU is an excellent university, just not a big research institution.

  • front ranger Loveland, CO
    Nov. 23, 2017 6:51 p.m.

    Sweater dude

    You’re correct, this article is all about BYU, yet here you are.

    On the article about Utah’s basketball game last night, it’s a ghost town - zero comments.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 23, 2017 3:41 p.m.

    @stringerbell

    "...Besides, the game is your Super Bowl, hardly ours."
    ***********
    And yet here you are on every BYU article... cutting away... It appears to those who are objective that ute fans and especially yourself treat this as your biggest game of the year... Hardly ours.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 3:18 p.m.

    Cutting your losses...

    Every successful business person knows there comes a time when you have to cut your losses.

    BYU needs to make that decision.

    Membership in a P5 Conference seems to be a ship that has already sailed.

    Who knows how long the ESPN contract will be available?

    If the BOT allows BYU to move to the MWC, there will still be a core of fans willing to support the Cougars.

    If/When BYU moves back into the MWC, there will be the usual mocking that always goes on.

    So what?

    BYU will at least have a chance to be in the catbird seat...again.

    10 win+ seasons could become the rule rather than exception.

    For example...

    Schedule 2 P5 teams...1 G5 team and 1 FCS team...(In the East, South or Midwest to satisfy the exposure issue).

    Schedule 8 MWC teams...(Satisfies the exposure issue in the West).

    In reality...not much different than the current schedule.

    However...

    Every year there would be a chance for a Conference Championship game as well as an at large seat at the FBS Playoff.

    Right now those 2 possibilities do not exist.

    Independence and related scheduling issues will continue to be a problem.

    BYU needs to act...now... on things they can control.

  • Allen South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 2:14 p.m.

    I enjoyed the article, because it gives a vision of the BYU athletic program over the years and does not just think of the poor season BYU football is having this year. The article tries to explain why readers who look at the BYU athletic program over the past 30 or so years should not be surprised at the poor season this year.

  • Marked it Down Park City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 1:51 p.m.

    After going 1-10, 1-10, 3-8, 3-8 in four straight seasons, from 1974 to 1977, why didn't Utah cancel their football program?

    It had become quite obvious that Utah was no longer competitive.

  • Y's little brother Sandy, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 1:48 p.m.

    mightymite

    "Athletics should not be a priority for BYU..."

    Trolling EVERY BYU article should not be a priority for Utah fans,

    yet here you are.

  • Allen South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 1:41 p.m.

    Utah'95,

    Yes. I have two sons who are graduates of BYU, and I read the BYU magazine each month, even though I am a graduate of Utah State and Boston University. According to the magazine, BYU is doing more research, especially by undergrads, than you might realize. The magazine talks about the research being done at that school and the LDS culture on campus, and never, well almost never, mentions the athletic program of the school.

  • Whatsnu Sandy, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 1:39 p.m.

    Utah'95

    "You are aware that BYU does very little research, aren’t you?"

    You are aware how clueless that comment is, aren't you?

    BYU is rated an R2 - Higher Research Activity - University.

    Other universities in the R2 category:

    Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Mississippi St, Oklahoma St, Rutgers, TCU, and Wake Forest

    BYU does alot of research, just not as much as Utah.

  • mightymite , 00
    Nov. 23, 2017 1:35 p.m.

    Athletics should not be a priority for BYU but the discovery of the Book of Morman lands and archaeology should be. The very stability of the religion and church depend on it. Enough with these foolish games, cut the programs already.

  • backpacn Sandy, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 1:27 p.m.

    tinkerbell

    "he [LaVell] didn’t have his team trying to fight above it’s weight. He had cupcake schedules with an occasional one good team."

    You obviously don't have a clue what you're talking about.

    BYU had 2-, 3- or 4-win seasons in 5 out of the 10 years immediately preceding LaVell becoming BYU's HC.

    BYU WAS the cupcake and every team that they played was fighting above their weight.

    It was LaVell who began transforming BYU from a perennial loser into a national power, beginning the year after his only losing season.

    In 1974, BYU played in their first bowl game, 10 years after Utah played in their first bowl game as a member of the WAC.

    Ironically, Utah completely tanked for the next 4 seasons, suffering back-to-back 10-loss seasons, and only winning 8 games total from 1974 to 1977.

    The roles were reversed and Utah had become the perennial loser.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 23, 2017 1:23 p.m.

    "BYU-Idaho gave up intercollegiate athletics a few years ago. I wonder how that school is doing."

    Most people outside of the church don't know it exist.... Not sure it has done anything for the academics. Not a bad school.... but not much other to note about it. We need a version of it on the other coast if the church expects our kids to stay out east...

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Nov. 23, 2017 1:15 p.m.

    Allen,

    You are aware that BYU does very little research, aren’t you?

  • Allen South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:55 p.m.

    BYU giving up intercollegiate athletics may not completely stop criticisms of BYU as a conservative school, but I think it will reduce criticisms of BYU as a poor athletic school. It will allow BYU to respond to such criticisms with excellent scholastic programs, which after all is what college is all about. College should be about preparing undergrads for entrance into the real world and for having excellent research and teaching for both undergrads and grads. It should not, in my opinion, be about having a great athletic program in comparison with other schools. Star athletes, it seems, choose a school because it has a great athletic reputation and is a likely stepping stone to professional athletics. They should, in my opinion, choose a school because it has the scholastic reputation that the world is waiting for, and for which the athletes will need in a few years.

    BYU-Idaho gave up intercollegiate athletics a few years ago. I wonder how that school is doing.

  • Sweater In Rafters Franklin, IN
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:51 p.m.

    ND95.
    1. The article isn’t about Utah’s basketball team....thus the limited comments.

    2. UNLV May represent the MWC better than anyone has in 10 years. They are a good 4-0 team that has crushes each opponent. Their freshman stud will go to the league next year.

    3. BYU athletics can stay relevant in D2 type fashion, be a good education provider and a nice place for match making. Their fans just need to let it happen and reduce the 1984 bravado

  • Mt Rushmore Arlington, VA
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:48 p.m.

    Stringer Bell

    "That was Utah’s challenging transition into the P5 world, which then was immediately followed by three consecutive national rankings and inclusion in the CFP polls."

    So you're claiming that Utah fans were soooo clairvoyant in 2013 that they knew that Utah's back-to-back losing seasons were only a temporary setback, rather than the beginning of the end of Utah athletics?

    LOL at your whiny excuse.

    Perhaps you could lend Whittingham your crystal ball so that he doesn't call anymore clueless timeouts to cost the Utes another game.

  • Stringer Bell Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:43 p.m.

    Gandolph: "What can be said about the BYU-Utah series is that Utah has only beaten BYU by more than a touchdown ONCE in 7 games, since 2009. "

    And BYU-P has had the lead for about three and a half minutes in those last seven games. Not as close as you’d like the score to indicate. Besides, the game is your Super Bowl, hardly ours.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:41 p.m.

    @kingscourt

    "...BYU can't have it both ways. They can't dish out the good, old-fashioned discrimination against those of a different sexual orientation."

    ********
    BYU hasn't changed it's position... It's one you can find in about 5 or 7 places in the Bible and numerous places in the BOM (that's "Book of Mormon" in case you aren't familiar with the acronym). For BYU to change they would have to alter scripture and since BYU is owned and operated by the LDS church that is not likely to ever happen. We Mormons don't carry around "White Out" to amend scriptures to satisfy those who live by the ever changing lifestyle of the "Politically Correct".

    BYU's beliefs have always been protected by the Constitution (Written and ratified in the late 1700's) since BYU was founded in the mid 1800's... LGBT just became a protected class two years ago. The NCAA and the P5 Conferences have chosen to not only side with the PC folks such as yourself but to be their Attack Dog. I believe that the NCAA and P5 actions are illegal and BYU has chosen up to this point not to challenge them. I believe that the day is coming that they will however. BYU has too much investment into College Sports.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:39 p.m.

    Uteofferouus,

    Of course Utah would have a better win - loss record in the MWC. ANY P5 team would.

    But when it comes to exciting games, visibility, and money, it’s way better to be in the PAC 12.

    When is the last time you heard a Utah fan say, “Maybe going to the PAC 12 was a bad idea?”

  • Stringer Bell Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:29 p.m.

    Lone*Star: "LaVell didn’t have a single win as a head coach when he was promoted to HC at BYU. LaVell also had his first, and only, losing season in his 2nd year."

    And how long ago was that? Also, he didn’t have his team trying to fight above it’s weight. He had cupcake schedules with an occasional one good team. It’s looking like his 19 or so good years will be an abberational blip on the BYU-P overall football record. And sadly, young players today know nothing about that.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:27 p.m.

    No brainer. If the honor code hinders football, just drop the program.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:27 p.m.

    Rick for truth,

    You said: “This year’s schedule would have been tough for any team.”

    Are you really “for truth?”

    Here is some truth for you:

    According to Sagarin, EVERY Power 5 team played a more difficult schedule this year than BYU. That’s all 65 P5s, and only 5 of them have worse records than BYU right now.

    BYU has played 4 top 30 (per Sagarin) teams. There are 33 other teams that have played 4 or more top 30 teams. According to Sagarin, all of them but 1 are better teams than BYU.

    So the “truth” is this:

    Every P5 played a tougher schedule than BYU, and more than 90% have fared better than the Cougars.

  • Stringer Bell Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:21 p.m.

    RoadRunner: "Where was your hysteria of gloom and doom predictions and the ultimate demise of Utah athletics and the utter failure of the PAC 12 experiment when Utah suffered back-to-back losing seasons just a couple of years ago?"

    That was Utah’s challenging transition into the P5 world, which then was immediately followed by theee consecutive national rankings and inclusion in the CFP polls. No need for "hysteria of gloom." On the other hand, independence....much need for concern there.

  • Uteofferouus Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:19 p.m.

    BYU fan here:

    To all the Utah fans making snarky remarks about the lowly Mountain West conference and such - be reminded that powerful PAC-12 Utah basketball team lost quite badly to lowly Mountain West's UNLV last night.

    Oh and don't forget about the fabulous season your Utah football team is having (currently 5-6) and with a darn good chance you'll end up at 5-7 (and that is a really rotten record) for a mighty PAC-12 team. Maybe Utah would do better in the Mountain West conference? Just a thought.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:12 p.m.

    “We have been systematically kept out of not just the Pac-10, but after that, the Big 12,” says Fehlberg. “This has been good, old-fashioned religious discrimination masquerading as academic snobbery that legitimizes an otherwise untenable position.”

    Yes, but BYU can't have it both ways. They can't dish out the good, old-fashioned discrimination against those of a different sexual orientation and then not expect it to be flipped on them in the form of religious discrimination.

  • ND95CA Lincoln Park, IL
    Nov. 23, 2017 11:46 a.m.

    It's interesting how Utah fans continue inundate this article with inane comments about BYU,

    when they haven't posted a single comment on the article about Utah getting destroyed in their basketball fight last night...

    "Utes get knocked out by UNLV in the 'Main Event'"

  • killarney Lincoln Park, IL
    Nov. 23, 2017 11:38 a.m.

    xert

    What will really happen is BYU will be fine whether they remain Independent, return to the MWC, or somehow manage to join a P5 when the landscape changes,

    and the BYU-obsessed haters will continue to hyperventilate about the end of BYU athletics every time BYU loses a game or has a less-than-perfect season or there's even an inkling of something that is "not quite right" concerning BYU.

  • mightymite , 00
    Nov. 23, 2017 11:38 a.m.

    It is not so called gloom and doom from one losing season. The fact is the vision of the athletic department cannot even come close to the reality of the situation. BYU average recruits are 2 star athletes and should be playing MWC type competition. The athletes BYU ropes in will not change - it is no Notre Dame (not even a TCU) this will never change......When you try and raise the bar with these limitations your going to get 30 + injuries and 3-9 type seasons. It's just reality. You dont have South Summit playing Bingham on the gridiron week in and week out do you??? Time to acknowledge limitations at BYU and step down to them.

    Time to face reality for what it is. Either step down a notch and face the reality of what football at BYU brings to the table or continue on the unobtainable path of a national program and brand which run the entire athletic program in the ground. Time is critical to this argument. What will it be?

    The choice is there to stem the tide..., The very future of the program is at stake. What choice will be made?

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 11:29 a.m.

    Road Runner - Cedar City, UT " feeding frenzy of gloom and doom that one losing season has produced"
    I encourage you to read the article. It is not about "one losing season", but rather the downward trend of BYU football AND basketball AND the other sports over almost two decades.

    Sanefan - "Article about BYU sports with 220 posts, over half by non BYU fans."
    We all slow down to gawk at a car wreck. Same thing applies here.

    Hopefully, local sportswriters will cast a more critical eye during spring practice and the summer media day, and ask themselves "how were we so fooled last year, and what are we REALLY seeing this year?"

  • Rockwell Baltimore, MD
    Nov. 23, 2017 11:25 a.m.

    Allen

    "I wonder if this is the time for BYU to give up intercollegiate sports. If BYU did that, yes, it would lose money and national exposure, but it would allow the school to attract students with its emphasis on scholastics and life-style (the honor code). It would eliminate criticisms of BYU due to its conservative approach to education."

    BYU already attracts thousands more students who are interested in BYU's scholastics and life-style, than it can accept,

    You're extremely naive if you think that giving up intercollegiate sports will eliminate criticisms of BYU due to its conservative approach to education.

    BYU will always be the flagship educational institution of the LDS church and there will always be detractors constantly looking for anything they can use to criticize the church.

  • All teams Utah Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 11:24 a.m.

    Great article. Did it all play out as written? But it does make sense as to why BYU will never return to the glory days so long ago. Either get into a G5 or drop sports. We can all quibble about what we believe in the article or not but that doesn't change the state of affairs of the BYU athletic program.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Nov. 23, 2017 11:09 a.m.

    We’ve read different takes on what HAS happened and on what SHOULD happen, now Xert pops on the scene to give Y’all the 911 on what WILL happen.
    Ahem—BYU will remain an independent and refuse the chance to re-enter either the MWC or join either the American, WAC or Sunbelt. Recruiting will continue to decline and although BYU will often play decent football, they will lose to many of their early season foes and be always in danger of losing on the back end of their schedule and their very insignificant bowl game as well, due to depth and lack of quality athletes.

    Many more BYU fans will cite CTE, economics and corruption and claim that the football sky is falling and use this as an excuse to stop supporting their team (not saying they’re wrong). If and when college football goes completely off the rails, those same fans will claim that they were the first to realize it and give themselves hearty pats on their own backs.

  • byufootballrocks Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 10:57 a.m.

    If this team had simply not had the injuries it had this year, and had won seven or eight games with a bowl - which was realistic - this article never would have been written.

    Something for all to consider.

  • Allen South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 10:46 a.m.

    I wonder if this is the time for BYU to give up intercollegiate sports. If BYU did that, yes, it would lose money and national exposure, but it would allow the school to attract students with its emphasis on scholastics and life-style (the honor code). It would eliminate criticisms of BYU due to its conservative approach to education.

  • Road Runner Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 10:37 a.m.

    It’s absolutely hysterical the feeding frenzy of gloom and doom that one losing season has produced amongst our BYU-obsessed little brothers.

    Where was your hysteria of gloom and doom predictions and the ultimate demise of Utah athletics and the utter failure of the PAC 12 experiment when Utah suffered back-to-back losing seasons just a couple of years ago?

  • Lone*Star Austin, TX
    Nov. 23, 2017 10:27 a.m.

    azute1

    LaVell didn’t have a single win as a head coach when he was promoted to HC at BYU.

    LaVell also had his first, and only, losing season in his 2nd year.

  • Lone*Star Austin, TX
    Nov. 23, 2017 10:22 a.m.

    Uteology

    Are you really so naive that you actually think that class rankings are the end all, be all, of recruiting?

    If that were really true, Utah should just pack it in and accept perennial PAC 12 bottom dweller status because Utah will never out recruit the big boys of the PAC 12 - USC, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, and Washington. In fact, Utah struggles to out recruit Arizona, ASU, WSU and Cal on a consistent basis.

  • Sanefan Wellsville, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 10:23 a.m.

    An article about BYU sports and there are 220 posts, over half by non BYU fans. Now that my friends is relevance. BYU athletics are going nowhere.

  • NeilT Ogden, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 9:24 a.m.

    I continue to remain an optimist about the future of BYU football. BYU just signed a top QB recruit out of Texas that will fit right in with Detmers pro style offense. BYU may never return to their glory days however they are certainly capable of a winning season. Lots of top programs have had down years including Notre Dame, and MIchigan to name a few. I continue to have confidence in coach Sitake. Remember last season. A lot of close games that could have easily gone the other way and led to an undefeated season. I totally concur that BYU would benefit from conference membership. The MWC may not be our best option however it might be our only option. I try to ignore all the naysayers and arm chair quarterbacks that like to post on here. Sports mirrors life. We have all have adversity and up and down times. I recall Auburn having a two win season and playing for the national championship the next year.

  • kerichar PROVO, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 8:44 a.m.

    BYU and ASU fan here. Enjoyed the article. New info I hadn't read before about the history of BYU athletics.

    I am constantly amazed at the time and effort Utah "fans" make to comment on BYU articles at DesNews and the Trib. Ripping on BYU makes you feel more manly I guess, especially when you can be protected by the anonymity of the Internet.

    I'll admit you have scoreboard, but why the obsession? I haven't read a Utah or Utah State article in my life if it wasn't about a game or issue involving a team I was following. Little brother syndrome never dies I guess.

  • What To Do Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 8:43 a.m.

    This article got started on the right path and then veered to excuses which is so typical of a program in a death spiral. I find it hilarious that rather than face the facts it is more fun to cry discrimination and spout all manner of how qualified the program and the school is or was.

    The fact is we all face some form of discrimination each day. So deal with it.

    BYU is a fine school and at one time had a great football program. OK give it a rest.

    BYU's pride is beyond the pale. The article said that BYU mission in sport was bigger than the sport and they want a national stage to promote the mission, and a power 5 conference is the only answer. That is just ridicules. We all know that BYU is using athletics for missionary work and to spread the gospel. That is fine. But to say that it can only be done through a power 5 conference is really disingenuous and calls into question the entire value of the statement.

    The fact is BYU wants to be in a power 5 conference for one reason and one reason only to put butts in seats and sell tickets just like everyone else. Since Utah left, BYU has been trying to maintain butts in seats and please their fan base.

    Its time to go back to MWC!

  • Leonidas Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 8:28 a.m.

    Wow, what a feeding frenzy. Ute trolls circling, gnashing, and sniping at all things BYU. Your concern is amazing. Thanks for spending your holidays worrying about the Cougars.

  • Shabba san mateo, CA
    Nov. 23, 2017 8:10 a.m.

    Except for this year, BYU has very consistently been about 8-5 in football every year for the last 10 years. One bad year is the end of the program? We haven't had a great team in awhile but we are consistently good.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:48 a.m.

    “How do you choose a head coach without a single NCAA win in Kalani over a proven coach with multiple 10 win seasons in Ken of Navy?”

    Didn’t “Ken of Navy” turn byu down, not the other way around?

    Why continuously perpetuate myths down there @ tds?

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:37 a.m.

    @ zzzz

    I don't believe that BYU will change its stance on homosexual PDA in order to gain admittance to an Athletic Conference. I know that a couple of religious institutions have done this but they are not BYU. The Bible is clear on the issue and the Bible is the foundation of the LDS faith who owns and operates the University.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:35 a.m.

    The only way BYU football will ever get by this obstical is to win. Effective Scheduling is a strategic part of winning. This year’s schedule would have been tough for any team. The next big elephant in the room, offensive coordinator, we do not have one. Detmer stands on the field with a collection of plays our players cannot execute, he cannot see what works or what the defense is doing to our team. Get off the dang field and into the booth. Better yet, coach the Quarterbacks and get a real offensive coordinator, say Norm please come back? The talent is there, the talent to coach them is lacking, no adapting to the other teams schema. Going back to the MWC, May be the only way to crawl out of this. ESPN is going broke, we may lose that golden egg soon.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:29 a.m.

    Actually and so it begins in Sandy...

    I don't think that it would ever get to court as I don't think the P5 would want to test it... I would suspect that they would make room for BYU in either the Big12 or the pac12... or, they would make reasonable accommodations that would protect BYU's P5 scheduling for several years to come. which is really all that BYU would want.

    If it did end up in formal litigation and land with the Supremes I think that the case would fair well and that the Monopoly would be in danger of being broken in favor of a court mandated order that the NCAA and P5 club form leagues based on objective criterion and divide those leagues geographically according to that criterion (that criterion would have to be approved by a Court approved Magistrate). My opinion is that this, in fact, should have been done years ago.

    I can't imagine that the P5 Conferences would want to test their anti-trust actions over the question of whether or not BYU would qualify under an objective criterion. Too much to lose both in treasure and in control.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:26 a.m.

    To those of you calling for Tom Hollie to be fired, please be honest with yourselves. How many of you applauded the decision to go independent when it was announced?

    It always has struck me as a knee-jerk decision to Utah’s invitation to the PAC 12. BYU’s pride was hurt, and not just their AD’s. It had widespread support by BYU fans.

    No other athletic program comes to mind who chose independence over conference membership. Even Notre Dame has gone membership-lite with the ACC.

    Independence was a bad decision, but one that had the overwhelming support of the BYU fan base.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:26 a.m.

    “BYU was 3-3 versus P5's last season (with all three losses by 3 or fewer points).

    Since BYU's decision in 2010 to become Independent, BYU has beaten Texas, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Miss St, Mich St, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Oregon St, Washington, Washington St, California, and Arizona.”

    What was the collective overall record of the P5s byu beat last year?

    What were the final records/rankings of all those schools you list?

    “and let's not forget, BYU was only 8 points shy of an undefeated season.”

    How many total points was byu away from finishing 5-7/bowl-less last year? You see, it works both ways.

    byu regressed even further this year & will continue their precipitous slide going forward, unabated.

    Look no further than their annual 2 star bonanza in recruiting & the fact they have very little playable-depth behind their predominantly mediocre starters, what w/predominantly 2 star recruits filling-out their depth chart....An annual dearth of NFL draftees is yet another indicator.

    byu football will inevitably become extinct, sooner rather than later, particularly w/their grossly inexperienced rookie coaching staff/unqualified AD, palpably in way over their heads.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:23 a.m.

    @skywalker

    Utah math?

    Let me help you a little.

    Sitake became BYU's head coach in December 2015, AFTER BYU's bowl game versus Utah.

    He only had a couple of months to assemble a complete staff, including a recruiting coordinator, and cobble together BYU's 2016 recruiting class.

    Sitake's first, and only, full recruiting class that he had a full year and a complete staff to work on was 2017.

    -------------

    In 2016, that was your best class since 2010. I gave Sitake the credit because there was excitement for his hiring. Fine, I will give it to Bronco.

    Rivals Class Rankings:

    Sitake: 2018 #52 and 2017 #64

    Bronco: 2016 #48, 2015 #66, 2013 #62, 2012 #70, 2011 #70, 2010 #40

    So far talent for Sitake is the same as Bronco.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:15 a.m.

    Old Navy

    How many CFP / NY6 bowls has Utah played in since joining the PAC 12?

    It's not Independence, but too many losses, that's keeping BYU from earning a CFP / NY6 berth.

  • SportsFan Provo, UT
    Nov. 23, 2017 12:11 a.m.

    Old Navy

    "This article makes the Mountain West conference seem so inferior and below BYU."

    As far as the CFP is concerned, every G5 conference is inferior to the P5 conferences and no G5 team will ever come close to being a CFP contender.

    #15 Western Michigan (2016)(13-0),
    #18 Houston (2015)(12-1),
    #20 Boise St (2014)(11-2)

    have been the highest ranked G5 teams so far.

    Even with a 10-0 record this season, UCF is only ranked #15 in the current CFP poll.

    Unless you're ranked in the Top 6 of the Final CFP poll, you're not even a serious contender for a CFP berth.

    With 65 G5 teams and 260 potential contenders over the last four years (4 x 65), and not a single G5 team even cracking the CFP Top 10, it's quite obvious that no G5 team will ever have the necessary SOS to be a serious CFP contender.

  • mightymite , 00
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:57 p.m.

    Looks like NM State and BYU are destined to be travel partners in Sun Belt Conference starting in 2020. How the mighty have fallen.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:23 p.m.

    Although I never had any problem living the Honor Code as currently constituted while I was attending BYU, I’ve always felt that it shouldn’t be any stricter than the LDS church’s standards for full faith and fellowship for LDS students attending other universities.

  • Old Navy Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:07 p.m.

    All the begging in the world is not going to motivate the Big 12 to invite BYU. This is down right pathetic. BYU get off your knees, swallow your pride, and return to the Mountain West conference.

    This article makes the Mountain West conference seem so inferior and below BYU. In reality, Boise State has been to and won two Fiesta Bowls since joining the Mountain West? And how many for BYU as an independent? That is a resounding ZERO!

  • zzzz Mapleton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:53 p.m.

    Here is a solution that will work. Treat all BYU students the same in regard to public display of affection. To do that, take out these 2 paragraphs from the honor code. Notice the last sentence. It holds LGBTQ+ students to a more stringent standard. It should be about the temple recommend standard, not this two-standard system. If dropped BYU would be in the Big 12 right now:

    Homosexual Behavior
    Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. Members of the university community can remain in good Honor Code standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code.

    One's stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.

  • Jfronk28 Tremonton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:28 p.m.

    Goodbye Mountain West, hello Big Sky. BYU football, may you Rest In Peace.

  • WACPaddingOurSchedule pocatello, ID
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:55 p.m.

    Gandalph - Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:48 p.m.
    Former coach...

    Transitive score differentials are completely meaningless because of ever-changing conditions.

    Even rematches of the same two teams later in the season are unpredictable - see Alabama-Florida in 2008.

    What can be said about the BYU-Utah series is that Utah has only beaten BYU by more than a touchdown ONCE in 7 games, since 2009.

    Hardly proof of the overwhelming superiority Utah fans claim.
    _____

    So basically you are saying that BYU can only get up to play Utah?
    BYU had every opportunity to score more points in each of those games. But lost every one no matter the difference on the scoreboard.

  • Mike Maxwell Draper, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:55 p.m.

    This article tells only part of the story -- the victim part of the story. That story is that BYU is a victim of religious discrimination. Despite the fact that other religious schools are doing fine - Notre Dame, Baylor, TCU, etc, BYU is being specially singled out? Perhaps, but that is only part of the story and it is the part that BYU cannot control. What the story does not address is the part of the story that BYU can control. BYU's arrogance in refusing anything but a Power 5 conference is leading them to obscurity. The MWC would take them back in a heartbeat . In the MWC, BYU would have something to play for throughout the season, would actually have interesting games in the 2nd half of the season, and could get into new years bowls and the playoff even with a loss during the season. But BYU won't go there. Second, BYU's greed in not being willing to give up on their fat ESPN money in exchange for joining a conference is not even addressed in this story. That was definitely part of the problem with the BIG-12 discussions and is part of the problem with them joining any conference. They just don't want to share. Money is a very big part of this.

  • Former Coach ,
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:39 p.m.

    @gandalph,

    No kidding, you don’t think I know all that? To sit back and pretend that the team that lost to Washington on Saturday is about the same as the team that lost to UMass is crazy.

  • New to Utah Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:34 p.m.

    The decision to leave the MWC was the absolutely wrong decision. 2017 BYU got beat soundly by BSU 24-7 at LES, USU beat BYU in Logan why on earth is BYU too good for MWC? The reality is going independent was a horrible mistake. It’s made it impossible to win a championship. Playing teams with far better athletes in the SEC doesn’t help BYU but guarantees a blowout and injuries.

  • clwnuke Park City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:11 p.m.

    I would like to see BYU Football go high tech. There is a ton of brainpower and knowledge at BYU that the football program never uses. Coach Sitake - please leverage the incredible scholars at your school to do the following:

    1. Do some statistical analysis of your play calling. Big data using computers can help you throw out 80% of your playbook as ineffective and stick to what BYU can do well.

    2. Employ the Physics program to teach your players how to run, juke, and tackle more effectively. When you get down to it, it's all about vectors and p=mv.

    3. Use the Engineering school to design some Virtual Reality helmets that mimic 10 enormous linemen flowing through holes in the offensive line like it was swiss cheese and make sure the quarterbacks know how to throw the ball away under pressure and not to take a sack twenty yards behind the line of scrimmage. Even I can throw the ball out of bounds.

    Lot's of industries have learned that computers can determine most choices better than humans. Try thinking outside the box Coach Sitake - BYU's future may be better determined by data and not emotion.

  • nvrslowdown Castle Rock, CO
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:07 p.m.

    Solution: Apologize for Prop 8

    That is the solution here, I just checked and LDS policy has changed. They do NOT push members to vote against gay marriage anymore. We apologize, we prove we truly love gays on campus by giving them more of a voice, then we get into a P5 and have good sports again. And we do so without lowering any or our values

    Seriously amazing article, such amazing info that I will come back to for years

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:02 p.m.

    BYU-Idaho dropped intercollegiate sports and is a better university for it. What in the world does athletics have to do with education? It's just a distraction. Focus on quality educational programs. In the long term it will enrich the lives of many more people than athletics.

  • Gandalph Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:48 p.m.

    Former coach...

    Transitive score differentials are completely meaningless because of ever-changing conditions.

    Even rematches of the same two teams later in the season are unpredictable - see Alabama-Florida in 2008.

    What can be said about the BYU-Utah series is that Utah has only beaten BYU by more than a touchdown ONCE in 7 games, since 2009.

    Hardly proof of the overwhelming superiority Utah fans claim.

  • And so it begins... Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:23 p.m.

    poyman

    I like your competitive spirit, but I’m afraid the odds are so stacked against BYU going up against “the establishment”, that litigation would be a disaster and would probably mark the end of BYU athletics, even though BYU would have a very legitimate case.

    Unfortunately, even if BYU were to miraculously win the case, they’d never be able to force any P5 conference to invite BYU into their boys club. The best that BYU could hope for is a huge monetary award, which would be antithetical to the true “mission” of BYU athletics.

  • Captain Green Heber City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:15 p.m.

    Let's be brutally honest. Jocks are not known for being especially studious in High School. They rely on their brawn to be popular. And they spend more time on the field practicing than studying. Consequently they don't get the good grades necessary to get into BYU. And "that" my fellow alumni is the problem in a nutshell! Academic standards have become so high that most athletes can't qualify even if they wanted to come and play at BYU. With this situation, we will never be great again.

  • Road Runner Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:05 p.m.

    Uteology

    Kyle would have lost his house if he’d actually made that bet, just as you will.

  • Road Runner Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:00 p.m.

    eastcoastcoug

    Typical BYU hating post from you who rarely has anything positive to say about a program that you pretend to be a fan of.

    If BYU hadn’ been any good the year they beat defending National Champion #1 ranked Miami, Detmer never would have won the Heisman.

    Sure, BYU laid an egg in Hawaii, no excuses, it happens, but you have conveniently forgotten that Detmer suffered TWO separated shoulders against Texas A&M, a significant factor in BYU’s loss to a very good Aggies team.

  • BYU 12 Utah 4 Huntington Beach, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:59 p.m.

    One bad season in decades and suddenly the sky is falling. BYU has had one of the most consistently good programs in the Nation for several years with a bowl streek and win percentage that would be enviable for many programs. I’m willing to give this coaching staff and our players an opportunity to turn things around. The same coaches posted a 9 win season just a year ago with every game in reach. Even with the results this year, I’d still rather be a cougar than a Ute or anything else. Looking forward to next season.

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:36 p.m.

    Interesting history from credible people .

    As always, timing is everything when determining winners and losers (good fortune vs missing out)

  • Former Coach ,
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:31 p.m.

    @christoph,
    I like your logic. Utah is only 6 points better than BYU. I guess that would also mean that USC is only 7 points better than BYU. Washington would be 9 points better than BYU. And since Utah is only 6 points better than Arizona, I think that means BYU is equal to Arizona. However, I do get confused when it comes to Washington State. Arizona beat them by 21 so with your logic Utah should have beaten them yet lost. I really do like this logic though, seeing as I'm a Ute fan and have been frustrated with the close losses and all, but since we beat Arizona, and Arizona is sitting in second place in the Pac 12 South, and since we beat them we are actually in second place. Makes life feel so much better.

  • Hillbilly Willie Los Angeles, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:54 p.m.

    Congrats to Doug Robinson for an extremely well written, interesting article.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:17 p.m.

    The other perspective is to look at the success BYU has had with their personal conduct and high academic standards.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 5:46 p.m.

    Utes program is 6 points better than the Y program in year 2017. Close game in 2015 and 2016, both programs about even.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 22, 2017 5:38 p.m.

    I would add...BYU even in its heyday wasn’t all that good. We beat Miami but then got killed end of that season by Hawaii and A&M, and the following year by FSU, UCLA and Penn St. We ceased to surprise any top program.

    No one has mentioned the new elephant in the room: that CTE will kill college football within 10 years.

    Mark it down.

  • red.diehard Central, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 5:36 p.m.

    @ UtahBlueDevil

    Thank you, well said.

    @ BlueCoug
    "The Basketball rose from a 1-25 season, to contending for a National Championship, before losing Davies just before the NCAA Tournament."

    Delusional fanbase...another reason no P5 wants you.

    @ Thid Barker

    I will see your 10 ! and raise you 3!!!
    Also, no school has their athletic department #1 please come back to reality.

    @skywalker
    "Four losses in the tournament means Jimmer never missed the Big Dance. He was only a starter his Junior and Senior, and if not for Davies being suspended just before the tournament, BYU would have been a serious contender for the Final Four and a National Championship."

    see 'delusion' above

    "Jimmer, on the other hand, even without Davies, was ONE made free-throw in regulation from making it to the Elite Eight."
    That would be cool since byu has no Elite 8 appearances since the Field of 64+...yep, Danny Ainge was in a field of 42.

    My thought: Seeking exposure can leave you exposed, good luck byu fans your pain is just beginning.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 4:41 p.m.

    @skywalker

    I am willing to bet you Kyle Whittingham's home that BYU's 2018, 2019, 2020... recruiting classes will be ranked similar to class rankings during Bronco era?

    Also BYU will start 1-4 maybe 2-3 and lose to Utah next season.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 4:38 p.m.

    Three great things about Cougar Football:
    1) The band
    2) Respect during the National Anthem
    3) They DON'T have blue Astroturf

  • Uncle Lindy Wasilla, AK
    Nov. 22, 2017 4:29 p.m.

    Probably no one wants to admit it, but it's well past time for BYU to focus on academic greatness. Collegiate athletics at the level aspired to by BYU's fans are not going to happen. Too bad there's not a western Ivy League where academics are foremost and sports are mainly for fun. As a side note, it has become clear that injuries from football can be seriously debilitating. It's time to follow the pattern established at other LDS Institutions, such as BYU-Idaho and be realistic about what is truly important at the University.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:56 p.m.

    And Lastly Part VIII

    If it were to go to full litigation the risk could be great... P5 schools and the NCAA could shun and or boycott BYU in scheduling which would not be good, but then that would open them up those entities to charges of "retaliation" which could be very expensive to their tax payers who financially support their institutions... Would the BOT undertake such an endeavor? Probably not, but it could cause movement that would be more than appropriate... And, in a way, it would be a form of PC that Trumps the current PC movement.

    Sorry for the long discourse, but I had to say it.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:56 p.m.

    Part VII

    The last concern is probably the toughest to deal with and that is BYU being on the bad side of "Political Correctness"... It's almost as though the NCAA and the P5 Conferences have decided to be the attack dogs for PC causes as of late... specifically referring to the LGBTQ crusade... I don't see how BYU can play nice on this issue and still achieve the goal of P5 membership. Everyone knows that BYU's exclusion has been largely predicated on the religious beliefs of the LDS Church which owns and operates BYU. Perhaps it's time for some serious saber rattling and forcing a ruling on whether these actions by the P5 Conferences and the NCAA is Constitutional. The LGBT crew is now considered a "Protected Class" but so the protection of Religious Freedom which should protect BYU. If BYU were to actually file against these groups I think that one of two things would happen... 1) The P5 Schools and Conferences would decide to admit BYU into a P5 Conference or negotiate a solution that would include an acceptable partnership (i.e. ND and the ACC); or 2) It would go to the Supremes to decide and once Justice Kennedy retires I would like BYU's chances there...

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:52 p.m.

    Part VI

    The next concern involves the quality of the coaches and the AD to put together Schedules, Partnerships, and Recruiting Classes, and Game Plans that give BYU the best chance of winning and being recognized as a P5 equivalent. Most likely this will require changes... We need to start paying for Journey Level Coaches and stop hiring Apprentices. All of our coaches are good people and some fill the "talent requirement" but some simply don't have the expertise that's needed to reach our stated goal of not only being treated as a P5 program but more importantly, being successful at it. Also, we need to replace our AD... Holmoe is a good guy and he was a very good FB player but in my view he has not been able to pull off the most important objective and that is to get us into a P5 Conference or get us to P5 equivalent status. This could have been done in 2011 and I think that it's possible it could even have been pulled off in 2016 with the right leadership. I assign it to lack of clout (on both sides of the table), lack of ingenuity, lack of determination and tenacity, and poor deal making skills, etc... We need a Danny Ainge type of AD.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:51 p.m.

    Part V and there's going to be more than VI

    So how do we fix all this? What has to be done to become a P5 Conference Member or a Revered Indy with benefits similar to ND? This, of course, is assuming that we mean what we say when we announce that our intention is to compete on the highest levels in college FB and BB.

    Let's start with the last concern first... Dissipate the Assumption that BYU is Pompous and High Maintenance in its dealings... This will take time for a new behavior to be exemplified to the NCAA/ P5 Community but it's simple... The AD needs to have clout with the other P5 schools and Commissioners but also, and maybe more importantly, with his own Board of Trustees and University Administration. When negotiating the AD needs to have the power to keep the BOT, the School Administration, and especially the Lawyers out of the room until a tentative deal is reached. Then, he needs to present it to the Board and Administration and get a yes or no vote on the deal, only after the deal is agreed on do the lawyers get involved in capturing the detail of the agreement. .

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:48 p.m.

    Part IV of VI

    The former AD of Texas emphasized this publicly when talking with BYU as a potential "fill-in" for TA&M and later Mizzou after these schools chose to leave the Big12 and move to the SEC. The Commissioner of the Big East was very pointed on this exact topic when they were trying hard to bring BYU into a Western Division of the Big East which later became the AAC (see the SN Nation article dated 11/22/11... "Big East Expansion: BYU Appears Unlikely To Join The Big East").So how do we fix all this? What has to be done to become a P5 Conference Member or a Revered Indy with benefits similar to ND? This, of course, is assuming that we mean what we say when we announce that our intention is to compete on the highest levels in college FB and BB.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:45 p.m.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...Holmoe is the salient piece in the descent of BYU sports. His leadership (or lack thereof) has steered BYU sports in the wrong direction and created a culture of recruiting people who are a "good fit". I recognize Bronco did that, but he was only following the orders of the admin and Holmoe.

    In Lavell's time at BYU he was allowed the autonomy and latitude to bring in athletes from everywhere and every background. He was allowed to mentor and teach and guide young men into paths that would be rewarding and fulfilling to them. He took broken young men that happened to be good athletes, and helped them become mature, spiritual, and selfless men. That latitude seems to no longer be available. BYU has become exclusionary in how they recruit ever since the Crowton fiasco. If BYU sports is a missionary tool, why is it cutting out recruits that may benefit the most from the positive influence it can be?

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:43 p.m.

    Part III of VI

    So why can't BYU achieve such an arrangement? Three reasons: 1) Political Correctness is and has been a problem as Robinson points out... In the early 70's it was about Race and the Priesthood, and recently it has been about the Liberal Crusade against anything connected with Religion, and lately it's all about the loud LGBTQ movement... 2) Our Coaches and AD simply don't have the clout among their peers in the NCAA/ P5 Community that they did when folks like Lavell Edwards, Stan Watts, and Glen Tuckett were around. We also don't pay our coaches Journey Level salaries which means we hire Apprentices and hope that they blossom into Journey Level performers. Some of them do and some of them don't... and 3) BYU has developed a "High Maintenance" or "Pompous Reputation" with the NCAA/ P5 Community. This is primarily because we allow too many cooks into the kitchen when we are negotiating for membership in a P5 Conference. (i.e. Brethren with little to no College FB and BB background, and a Bevy of Lawyers)

  • Whatsnu Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:40 p.m.

    wazzup

    "It would have also been interesting to see where all the football generated revenue goes. That would include concessions."

    100% goes to support BYU athletics, including all of the non-revenue producing sports, allowing BYU athletics, unlike most other athletic programs, to operate in the black, despite the huge difference in revenue.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:41 p.m.

    Part II of VI

    Robinson would argue that it is primarily because of increased expectations of recruits attending the university, tighter honor code restrictions, higher GPA requirements, more hurdles to clear in order to gain university acceptance... I would argue that it has more to do with the lack of exposure on the national stage, an inability for BYU to obtain P5 recognition and partnerships that would come with that recognition (whether it be as a P5 Conference Member or as a "Revered Independent"). Potential recruits want to know that they can have meaningful games with top competition not only on their field but on BYU's field as well, and not only in September but in October and November as well... and they would probably like to have the opportunity to win a P5 Conference Title along with All Conference recognition, They would also like to know that if they do finish in the top end of a Conference that they have the opportunity to play in a top tier Bowl.

  • Justiciaparatodos Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:41 p.m.

    I would rather see BYU bag sports completely than be a member of the discriminatory Pac-12 or any other conference that puts the values of immoral agenda groups ahead of moral and ethical standards!

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:40 p.m.

    Part I of VI

    Great article... I can see why Holmoe didn't want to be interviewed for it... The nose dive of the Men's Revenue generating sports (namely FB and BB) has been both easy and painful to see.

    As Robinson points out, the deterioration has been cloaked by a few very good recruits... In BB: Brandon Davies, Noah Hartsock, Jimmer Fredette, Jackson Emery, the LP3... In FB: John Beck, Max Hall, Taysom Hill, Kyle Van Noy, Jamaal Williams, Kai Nacua... As time goes on however, we are seeing fewer and fewer "great recruits" choose BYU (particularly if they are offered by a P5 Team). So while I agree with Robinson that most tangible cause of BYU's recent "fall" is its inability to keep pace with P5 teams in recruiting which causes a lower level of production and success on the field, we probably disagree on the reason why that recruiting demise has occurred.

  • golfrUte SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:37 p.m.

    Christy B

    The 2016 BYU freshman class earned an average score of 29 on the ACT, 1280 on the SAT and a 3.85 GPA.

    The 2016 UofU freshman class earned an average score of 25 on the ACT, 1230 on the SAT and a 3.59 GPA.

    These averages have no relevance to the scholarship athletes being admitted to both Universities. This notion that BYU academic admission averages restrict which athletes get admitted is simply not true. BYU is a quality university which draws from thousands of LDS members who want a church based university experience. The admission standards for rank and file students (non scholarship athletes) are very demanding based on the pool of applicants. However, scholarship athletes are routinely admitted with mundane academic resumes that don't come close to the average student admission requirements.

  • Whatsnu Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:29 p.m.

    "The rise and fall: An inside look at the decline of BYU's marquee sports programs"

    - 160+ comments, at least half by Ute fans

    "Underclassmen, coaches hope to send Utah seniors out with a finale worthy of their contributions"

    - 9 comments, only 5 by Ute fans

    Conclusion:

    There are far more BYU haters, who claim to be Ute fans, than there are real Ute fans.

    btw, the Utah game this week is against Utah's "supposed" new rival, Colorado

  • Who am I sir? Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:19 p.m.

    @James D Morrison

    "What a complete misunderstanding of what Fehlberg said and how it works. BYU needed another school to add with it so it would be an even number of teams. Colorado couldn't because of litigation fears supposedly, and the PAC 10 wouldn't accept Utah because of overlap in media markets. Utah didn't get in on its own. They needed a travel partner as well and Colorado was now available.

    1. The myth was that BYU would not go to the PAC-10 unless Utah was also invited.
    2. Did the article not say Fehlberg contacted the PAC-10 seeking an invitation?
    3. Only after PAC-10 saying BYU needed a travel partner did he suggest Utah.
    4. PAC-10 wanted Colorado but Colorado had reasons to not joint the PAC-10
    5. Today - the concept of travel partner is mute. It's all TV revenue and thus markets.
    6. Colorado was already in! Utah was selected as the 12th member based on its merits and Yes the fact the Texas/Oklahoma teams decline to make it the PAC-16.

    Are those points in dispute by you?

  • Thidder MAPLETON, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:12 p.m.

    I believe all the issues regarding BYU Athletics have been covered in the article and accompanying comments. The only unanswered question from the article is: Why did Lenny Gomes change his name to Lenny Gregory? I believe we deserve an answer!

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:04 p.m.

    So the two who were MOST intimately involved in B12 discussions, refuse to be interviewed about the process or the viability of Independence? That is a shame! Tells me all I need to know. Good luck funding football without large donors.

    It would have also been interesting to see where all the football generated revenue goes. That would include concessions.

    Enough secrecy! You want the support of fans, you need to be a little more transparent rather than running away from reporters. Kalani is being thrown under the bus because Holmoe won't make himself available and the current president was the lawyer involved in the 2011 B12 discussions. Sad........

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 3:03 p.m.

    Excellent comprehensive article, but from the comments I see fans in denial about the state of the program. Too many are stuck in circular reasoning:

    "Independence is hurting BYU."
    Then we should join a P5 conference.
    "P5 membership is not an option."
    Then we should stay independent.
    "But independence is hurting BYU."
    Then we should join a P5 conference.
    "But P5 membership is not an option."
    {repeat}

    Lavell Edwards brought national attention to BYU without P5 membership. BYU should replicate that before trying the next level. Every year, some team is the best G5 in the country -- why not BYU?

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:49 p.m.

    As a Utah fan (Doug), thanks for helping their recruiting.

  • MRM Layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:44 p.m.

    utahute69

    "For openers, so much of this article was about BYU's so called glorious past. Twenty years as a very good but not great football program doesn't make BYU a storied program."

    Current AP All-time Top 100 List
    #34 BYU
    #63 Utah

    AP Top 25 Finishes
    BYU 17
    Utah 8

    11+ Win, Top 15 Finishes since 2006
    BYU 3
    Utah 1

    late 1970's to late 2010's is still FOUR decades, regardless of how you slice it.

    BYU had Top 25 finishes and National Individual award winners in every one of those decades.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:35 p.m.

    Juicebox:

    Wagner was only scheduled because the Seahawks were literally the ONLY team available when BYU was forced to hastily reschedule several games at the last minute in order to add the Missouri series to BYU's schedule.

    It's absolutely hilarious that the BYU haters are so desperate to minimize all things BYU, that they have to pretend that something that was a complete anomaly is some sort of pattern.

    Why don't you talk about the numerous P5 teams BYU has scheduled since its move to Independence, including all but ONE of the twelve PAC 12 teams?

  • schmed Mission Viejo, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:33 p.m.

    Harmon, A fantastic article, great job.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:27 p.m.

    Uteology

    "Sitake has 3 classes, including this year."

    Utah math?

    Let me help you a little.

    Sitake became BYU's head coach in December 2015, AFTER BYU's bowl game versus Utah.

    He only had a couple of months to assemble a complete staff, including a recruiting coordinator, and cobble together BYU's 2016 recruiting class.

    Sitake's first, and only, full recruiting class that he had a full year and a complete staff to work on was 2017.

    The 2018 recruiting class is still a work in progress.

    With the majority of the players now serving missions, we won't even see the majority of his first full recruiting class until 2019.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:23 p.m.

    Fehlberg “So now you can see why we headed toward independence. With the broader national exposure, the church gets what it wants from this program."
    Therefore, anyone suggesting P5 membership is in it for the money. The primary pursuit of money is called greed. Do you want greed to be the cornerstone of your program?

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:16 p.m.

    Juicebox:
    "Cool. Congrats. That's cool you can hang your hat on that. You go to a bowl game with cupcake teams on every schedule. What an accomplishment. Wagner sure challenges you for bowl eligibility".

    I'm not too worried about the opinion of a guy calling for Whit's head after barely losing to UW. You obviously don't know a good coach when you see one, so surely we can't rely on your acumen for judging how or why a program is struggling.

  • Hailstorm is a coming Riverdale, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:14 p.m.

    Tom Holmoe

  • BlueCoug Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:08 p.m.

    Juice Box

    "I wouldn't play the P5 team card, BYU has done terrible against P5 teams."

    BYU was 3-3 versus P5's last season (with all three losses by 3 or fewer points).

    BYU has lost more games to non-P5's, than to P5's, this year.

    Since BYU's decision in 2010 to become Independent, BYU has beaten Texas, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Miss St, Mich St, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Oregon St, Washington, Washington St, California, and Arizona.

  • muncho6 salt lake city, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:10 p.m.

    I don’t understand after having one of the worst seasons in school history the article is mostly about joining a conference. What conference would want such a bad team. This is not the time to worry about a conference. There are fundamental problems with the team. Why can’t we discuss what those are and how to solve them? Is it lack of talent? Sounded like such in the article. Both in the players and coaching staff due to lack of funding and rigorous honour code rules.
    Can these be overcome? If so how? If not, can we learn to live with a different type of football program at byu. I think the years of conference championships are over. I think we are now in an era that byu should feel great to win 1/2 their games. We have to change the paradyme. We don’t have to be a winning program any more. It’s not the most important thing.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:07 p.m.

    @talkinsports

    Sitake has 3 classes, including this year. Post the class rankings not your opinions.

    The talent today is the same as it was under Bronco, which is why your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choice (aka Kyle Whittingham) wouldn't even consider BYU.

  • venicesurfer Detroit, MI
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:52 p.m.

    I echo other comments about Holmoe.... he is responsible for athletics at BYU and they have seen a decline under his tenure due to his poor vision and decision making. WCC basketball is a joke (Gonzaga being the exception). Independence is a joke. Many people point to BYU football's prior years of winning records ...but most of those wins came against teams with losing records. More importantly, BYU hasn't beat Utah in football in forever. ...therefore, time for you to go Holmoe. sorry. sports is a business and Holmoe is running a bad business.

  • DixieSmallBizMan Saint George, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:49 p.m.

    Good analysis, but ultimately kind of pointless, or maybe just mistimed. College Atheletic Armegeddon is a just around the corner. As the mega conference TV contracts expire in the next few years, there will be massive paycuts across the board. The PAC-12 network, the Longhorrn Network are financial loosers. ESPN is bleeding out. Fox Sports is not as badly wounded as ESPN, but still a bad picture.

    Mega schools aren't going to except less, so they will finally kick the weaker programs to the curb. Amazon, Twitter and Facebook are all already streaming live sports in some form. The whole college athletic world is about to blow up. Who knows, with its own network, BYU may be one of the few schools that can actually make its way through the coming meltdown.

  • james d. morrison Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:47 p.m.

    touchdownutes
    so many BYU fans have the exact same story as you, just in reverse. Cheered their own team but because of bad treatment by the fans of the other team, developed a loathing for the other team.

  • james d. morrison Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:44 p.m.

    Who knows? Maybe BYU will decide that because of CTE and the diminishing return on football they will cut football. Or maybe in a few years the entire college football scene will look completely different with 16 team super conferences when the current media deals in the Big 12 and PAC 12 end and more mid majors will be part of the bigger scene.
    As far as the honor code, maybe they should give a little more leeway and suspend for a game or two and not for entire seasons, depending on the infraction.

  • Juice Box Eureka, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:41 p.m.

    talkinsports - Gilbert, AZ
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:25 p.m.
    Clark W. Griswold

    "How does one bad season prove that Independence has ruined BYU athletics?

    In 2016, with SIX P5 teams on the schedule, BYU finished 9-4 with a bowl win,

    and let's not forget, BYU was only 8 points shy of an undefeated season.

    In 2017, with FOUR P5 teams on the schedule, BYU will finished 4-9 or 3-10."

    ..I wouldn't play the P5 team card, BYU has done terrible against P5 teams. BYU lost to all P5 teams this year. And again with the 8 points shy thing? That's like saying, "You're clearly better than I am, but only by this much". Whatever makes BYU fans happy I guess.

    "BYU has played in 12 straight bowl games, including 6 as an Independent."

    Cool. Congrats. That's cool you can hang your hat on that. You go to a bowl game with cupcake teams on every schedule. What an accomplishment. Wagner sure challenges you for bowl eligibility.

    Each year the schedule is built for an automatic bowl game. Anyone can do it with BYU's schedule. Well, except BYU this year...

  • james d. morrison Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:39 p.m.

    JohninSLC
    Shorts are allowed at BYU. And what is this BYU-P you keep referring to?
    And your response to Utah Alum about the uniqueness of the honor code was unrelated to his response. The academies have smoke free buildings? That's nothing like the honor code. Cadets can't get married? Nothing to do with BYU's prohibition on premarital sex.

    And what is wrong with bakc's caps lock? What's with BYu and Utah?

  • talkinsports Gilbert, AZ
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:38 p.m.

    Uteology

    "Prove it, show us the last 4 class rankings under Bronco and Sitake last 3."

    Sitake has only had TWO full recruiting classes - 2016 and 2017.

    2015 was a patchwork of Bronco's incomplete class and whatever leftovers Sitake could find starting in late December after most recruits had already committed to other programs.

    And let's not forget, with a majority of Sitake's recruits leaving on missions, most of his first full recruiting class won't even be upper-classmen until 2020.

  • mdp Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:35 p.m.

    IMHO, the knee jerk move to independence has killed BYU Football. Playing a schedule against the Nations toughest and deepest teams is not realistic with BYU's (and UofU) paper thin depth chart and recruiting obstacles- it only puts the best skill players onto the injured list for the rest of the season. I really miss the old wacky WAC and the local rivalries (AFA, CSU, Wyo, TCU, and those on the hill who remain unnamed) in all sports it provided year to year.

  • james d. morrison Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:26 p.m.

    Some in here say that BYU doesn't have the talent to compete against P5 schools. Yes, they don't this year, but have had better talent in years past. Plus, if they were included in a P5 conference, their recruiting would improve, just as it did for Utah.

  • CaliCougar American Fork, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:23 p.m.

    So many comments...I guess I'll contribute my two cents as a former athlete at BYU and current Cougar Club member.

    1) I have to smile when I read attempts by the same usual Utah posters to elevate Utah over BYU by virtue of Utah's admission into the PAC 12. In reality, there was no way that the PAC 12 would ever have admitted BYU back in 2010. The four California schools would never have allowed it, and they carry the weight in the conference. BYU at the time was seen for what it is, a private religious school with all the trimmings, and that doesn't fit the profile of the conference membership. I doubt it ever will. Utah, on the other hand, is a public, non-religious school. Easy choice for mountain time zone expansion, as was Colorado.

    2) It's interesting how a bad season brings about the "chicken little effect". I guess BYU football should never have a bad season, as if somehow it is immune to such a thing. In the years from 2011 to 2016, its record in independence was 52-26. Hardly the end of the world.

    3) The men's b-ball record from 2011 to 2016 is 146-66, hardly a train wreck.

  • talkinsports Gilbert, AZ
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:25 p.m.

    Clark W. Griswold

    How does one bad season prove that Independence has ruined BYU athletics?

    In 2016, with SIX P5 teams on the schedule, BYU finished 9-4 with a bowl win,

    and let's not forget, BYU was only 8 points shy of an undefeated season.

    In 2017, with FOUR P5 teams on the schedule, BYU will finished 4-9 or 3-10.

    BYU has played in 12 straight bowl games, including 6 as an Independent.

    If anything, 2017 is an anomaly that is more a product of a new, inexperienced coaching staff and a dearth of talent left by the previous coaching staff, rather than a trend.

  • james d. morrison Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:23 p.m.

    Who am I sir wrote "BYU could not get an invite on their own merits in 1997. In 2011 Utah could."
    What a complete misunderstanding of what Fehlberg said and how it works. BYU needed another school to add with it so it would be an even number of teams. Colorado couldn't because of litigation fears supposedly, and the PAC 10 wouldn't accept Utah because of overlap in media markets. Utah didn't get in on its own. They needed a travel partner as well and Colorado was now available.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:21 p.m.

    Unfortunately, things have changed. "One and done" has made it possible for kids to play without really going to class for more than a semester. Such players have no interest in education. Rules of the games have changed and not in a way that helps BYU. Finally both football and basketball have different players so teams with BYU's demographics stand little chance of excelling.

    I like the schedule variety of independence. I fully expected the Cougars to be successful in the current west coast conference, but clearly that is not going to happen as we are at best #3 and has never really been close to a championship. Part of the problem has to be casual recruiting. The word "creative" has not been used to describe play in either program in decades. It is almost as if the coaches have given-up or don't feel pressure to be successful. I don't have a solution, but hopefully someone does. If not, the fall to mediocrity will accelerate until a half full attendance will be viewed as good.

  • top of the world ,
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:19 p.m.

    Tampaute

    A fair response that I believe you really believe to be true. It's differences of opinion that make the world to go around. I just coined that phrase. Anyway, have a nice holiday season. I stand by my appraisal regarding the degeneration of society and the fact that the Y has tried to maintain core values that I happen to endorse. Those who do not feel as I do are certainly not expected to hold to the same values. As to the leadership not being humble, perhaps you should listen the leadership come April Conference. They seem to be a humble and sincere group of men and women. I am not one to follow the bell as it rings, but what they teach rings true to me.

    Perhaps you will comment on whether or not following what I believe is arrogance. There are certainly those who feel they need to force their beliefs upon others, but I have seen very little of this at the Y or within the Church that sponsors the Y. The few times I have noticed such an attitude, I have spoken up without hesitation. I am disgusted with anyone who feels they are better than others. Arrogance has been most prevalent to me at just one of the six schools I attended...the U of U.

  • phantomblade Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:17 p.m.

    Who am I sir?

    Nice try, but the "myth" was confirmed by the article.

    BYU was qualified,

    but the PAC 10 wouldn't allow an unqualified Utah to be dragged into the conference on BYU's coat tails.

  • Just Truth Saratoga Springs, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:13 p.m.

    "An analysis of decades of results reveal a troubling pattern of decline as societal changes, politics and big money stand in contrast to BYU’s commitment to its honor code and religious and educational mission."

    I'm okay with a decline in BYU sport's victories, if the decline in societal values, divisive politics, and corruption from the big dollar is the reason.

    But I don't believe for a second that it is (Or at least that it can't be overcome). There are many great sports players from many schools who have high morals, are fair judges of a good debate, and don't sell out for money.

    I say if you love sports, and as a player you want sports values, politics, and corruption to keep going in the direction it is going than join any number of teams who will win at all cost, but if you don't want those ideals I'm sure there are enough of those out there who hang there hat on simply being a great athlete who you could team up with. BYU could fly that banner and stand apart probably better in Independence than any other team could. So prove to the world that you can win games despite what everyone else says it takes to do so.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:09 p.m.

    "I say I am -
    A University of Utah graduate,"

    Taking only your word for it (a degree, major and date would be helpful), I'll try to remember to refer to you as "utahalum(?)".

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:08 p.m.

    Perhaps there may be "bigger fish to fry".

    "The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of those that matter least.". (Goethe)

    😁

  • ltjets Ogden, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:08 p.m.

    EAGLE --- --you can't look past the men's football and basketball programs? --that is what brings in the money for all the other sports --You don't get any gate or TV money for soccer , softball , track etc etc ,the money from those two men's sports is the total meal ticket --Like Tom H. the AD said' --he dreamed about the financial possibilities of what a Big 12 or Pac 12 conference, affiliation would bring , TV, GATE , BOWL GAMES -AND A 400 MILLON $ SPLIT AT THE END OF THE YEAR ?--Sure those other sports might be doing well, but only because of the huge ESPN contract and the huge gate the two big sports bring in ..

    ---ESPN contract is up at the end of next yr --do you think they will renew? Or will they offer it to someone else for Friday night games ? Logistically-- BYU is in a tough situation if those two (Pac 12 / Big 12) will not accept them soon- Big 10 already has 14 teams - ACC and SEC do not make logistic sense . So they will have to use whatever power they can muster , an get in one of those conference's - Or the decline will continue , recruiting , exposure etc will falter --

  • Rocky Mountain Thunder Cheyenne, WY
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:08 p.m.

    “Imagine Utah has Arizona State and USC coming to town, and BYU is playing CSU and New Mexico,” says Checketts. “When Utah went to the Pac-12 that changed everything......"

    Same old insufferable, arrogant BYU. BYU may as well look to the AAC for conference membership if they get desperate enough to go that route. Please stop mentioning the MWC. I'm sure there are enough votes to keep BYU out of the MWC should BYU attempt to HUMBLY drag itself to the conference doorstep.

    You don't want us (other than returning in an act of desperation) and WE DON'T WANT YOU! Teams on the Front Range -- especially Wyoming and CSU -- are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into their football and basketball venues and are rising to the top in both sports within the MWC. Winning is fun and so is conference membership! And the basketball is competitive, too!

    Good luck with your national search for a conference home!

  • Christy B Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:05 p.m.

    utahcoyote

    "higher academic standards seems to a false narrative"

    The 2016 BYU freshman class earned an average score of 29 on the ACT, 1280 on the SAT and a 3.85 GPA.

    The 2016 UofU freshman class earned an average score of 25 on the ACT, 1230 on the SAT and a 3.59 GPA.

  • DETERMINISM UTAH, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:01 p.m.

    Increasingly higher academic standards will reduce the pool of players that can come to BYU. The honor code is somewhat of an obstacle but thos close to the program know that athletics is very lenient with its athletes behavior, hence, The running back played in two games after he was cited for marijuana possession before he was suspended. This is probably why Pres Worthen didn’t want to comment. As for Sitake, he is a great guy but is taking the program back to the Croton era behavior and discipline, or lack there of. I think a cancelled ESPN contract, another terrible season with decreased fan support and donor money and will be what ultimately dissolves the athletic program at BYU. The athlete issues with the honor code and the law should have been enough over the years but we have seen that BYU simply dismisses the behavior and moves on. It will be interesting to see how patient the brethren are, now that every indiscretion is captured in the media?

  • TouchdownUtes Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:52 p.m.

    When I was a boy in the 60's, and in high school in the 70's, I lived in Utah County and loved BYU. I was very young when I started being a Ute because 2 players from the local high school were awarded scholarships to play football at Utah.....these guys were my idols....so I grew up with that being a goal of mine. Simultaneously, I had the utmost respect for LaVell Edwards and many in his staff, i.e. Dick Felt, Norm Chou, etc......and I didn't mind rooting for BYU if they weren't playing Utah. Admittedly, that attitude changed in the 1980's because the BYU fan base became increasingly arrogant. At the time, when BYU would incur a loss, the myriad of lame excuses started to emerge. I was attending the U at the time, which didn't help in my admiration of BYU, but again.....I grew to where I despised their athletic teams, getting to the point that if BYU lost a game, that was a victory in my book. So to the present....in some ways, BYU is reaping what it has sown. The predominant thought to this article is that it was a huge mistake to go independent. What's apparent is that independence is their only option at this point. Maybe the MWC wouldn't want them back.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:50 p.m.

    When you live right, good things happen.

  • Stringer Bell Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:44 p.m.

    SportsFan: “BYU's undergraduate academics are far superior to Utah's and BYU's research programs are on par with Utah's, BYU simply doesn't do as much research because they've chosen to devote most of their resources to undergraduate programs.

    BYU has the exact same high research standing as teams in the Big 12 South that the PAC 12 was ready to welcome with open arms until the PAC 10 / Big 12 South merger fell apart."

    Wow.

  • Jeremy234 SLC, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:42 p.m.

    This article is all doom and gloom. Let's look at some of the pros of BYU bring terrible. For me, as Utah fan who watches BYU games, it makes every BYU game very enjoyable to see them lose. So it's not all bad. Keep it up Cougs!

  • Utah Alum Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:41 p.m.

    JohninSLC

    "(faux)Utahalum:

    "Do you have any proof whatsoever that I'm not a Utah graduate and alum?"

    - It's not my job to prove a negative. Why don't you prove you are?

    So, you're admitting that you have no proof to prove that I'm not who I say I am -

    A University of Utah graduate,

    as was my father and father-in-law, as well as numerous uncles, aunts and cousins, including one very prominent Utah booster and donor who anyone in the Crimson Club would instantly recognize if I were to cite his name.

  • Who am I sir? Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:39 p.m.

    "BYU's football team had four decades of success. "
    20 years does not make 4 decades! Read the article. In the 70's and 80's BYU did have great success. No one, even BYU fans, will claim any degree of success prior to the Edwards' Era! And as the article said, "In the 2 years since then (1996) BYU has finished in the top 2 just 3 times, the last of which came in 2009." So many 25 years.... Not four decades!

    Myth broken: So many have said BYU could have been in the PAC-12 (10 at the time) except they would not join unless Utah was also invited. Quote from this article, "Fehlberg, who was athletic director at the time (1997), approached PAC-10 officials to solicit an invitation to joint the league" . When told they needed a travel partner Fehlberg suggested Utah.
    BYU could not get an invite on their own merits in 1997. In 2011 Utah could.

  • Clark W. Griswold Sandy, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:31 p.m.

    I've been saying this since day 1.

    Independence was a BIG mistake and would ultimately ruin BYU athletics.

    We are now witnessing the collapse of a once proud football program. Even BYU basketball is trending downward. The football program is getting close to hitting rock bottom.

    This is the result of Tom Holmoe's knee-jerk reaction to Utah's PAC-12 invite. Declare football independence and send all other sports to purgatory (West Coast Conference).

    The blame for this mess should fall directly on Tom Holmoe and his knee-jerk reaction.

    I was right!

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:28 p.m.

    Maybe it's time to start looking past the football and men's basketball programs. Volleyball programs are doing great, women's soccer is generally a high team. X-country teams finished third and 11th respectively (men/women). Baseball program showing improvement, softball program is good, track and field programs are solid.

    I do wish BYU would bring back a wrestling program as this state has so many great wrestlers. But all is not lost. I think going to the PAC-12 for Utah has helped a lot of its programs as well and they are getting closer to BYU as an overall athletic program. I would love Utah to do well and get a wrestling program as well.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:27 p.m.

    @Blue

    Every program has down seasons. BYU fans simply need to be patient and give Sitake time to improve his talent and coaching staff. Except for a handful of very good players, Bronco left the cupboard bare.

    -----

    Prove it, show us the last 4 class rankings under Bronco and Sitake last 3.

    You won't like the answer, but the fact is the player talent was there to compete with ECU, Umass, and Utah State. The problem is you hired coaches with ZERO D1 experience for thier current postions.

    BYU does not have the talent to compete vs P5, even Edwards was 38%.

    If no MWC, then Big Sky might take you.

    Enjoy your Pillow Fight bowl in Hawaii and look for a 1-4 start next season.

  • utahcoyote Saint George, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:22 p.m.

    though i am not a doug robinson fan, per his anti-utah bias, this seems to be a well done and well researched article.

    there are a variety of issues facing byu sports programs, with perhaps tom holmoe being the most important. is he really the man byu needs to move forward? it seems to me that he has been more concerned with the media/publicity aspect of byu sports, as opposed to the competitive aspect. the whole independence thing was media oriented, as holmoe saw them above the the mwc in stature.

    the role of the honor code is hard to get a handle on. it does seem that enforcement now is much stricter than it was during the heyday of byu football. word of mouth between athletes suggests that would impact recruiting. the smaller numbers that make it to the nfl confirm that.

    higher academic standards seems to a false narrative. byu graduation rates are really not superior to even in state schools. "Among the six Division I schools in the state of Utah, Utah State ranked first ahead of Utah (83 percent), BYU (75 percent), Utah Valley (71 percent), Weber State (69 percent) and Southern Utah (69 percent)." (2015)

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:21 p.m.

    Interesting article that highlights and expands all the challenges we already recognize BYU faces. That said, I'm getting annoyed at all the talk of Independence hurting the program. It hasn't - losing and getting blocked from the Power 5 hurt the program. For all those saying it would have been better to stay in the MWC or that want to go back I ask, really? How is that better? BYU will get less money. They will have fewer non-conference games (the current 4 or 5 big games shrinks to 3...tops). They will still face weak competition in the second half of the season (nearly all the games are MWC opponents anyway). We already play BSU and USU every year. The only things BYU picks up is the chance to play for a conference championship and a clearer pathway to a New Years 6 bowl. Those aren't insignificant, but in reality in the MWC winning a conference championship is a "meh" proposition. Losing it would be a disappointment. And with their independent schedules, a great season should still merit a NY6 invite. Of course, that's all theory because they'd actually have to put together a solid season. So, short of a P5 invite, it's about winning and losing - and right now they're losing.

  • TampaUte Tampa, FL
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:22 p.m.

    top or the world -, it’s the LDS faith that’s to blame here. It’s the absence of humility and arrogance of BYU’s leadership and some fans that set the stage for this collapse. Your second paragraph is a perfect example the kind of over-the-top arrogance I’m refereeing to. If/when you and others recognize this as the root cause, then you’ll start on the path back to some measure of respectability. Playing the blame game will not fix BYU football.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:19 p.m.

    Its too bad the current administrators at BYU were not available to comment on this article. I thought the statements of former players and staff about enforcement of the Honor Code during the "Glory Years" vs now were quite revealing - and a little disappointing. Still this is a good summary of how BYU sees itself. The real question now is what is the plan going forward?

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:18 p.m.

    @skywalker - Palo Alto, CA

    Four losses in the tournament means Jimmer never missed the Big Dance. He was only a starter his Junior and Senior, and if not for Davies being suspended just before the tournament, BYU would have been a serious contender for the Final Four and a National Championship.

    -----

    Nope! Even with Davis you were a long shot according to Vegas. But that's what BYU is today, King of Moral victories.

    You are aware that Utah 3-2 in the tournament in 3 seasons isn't an accomplishment, I wasn't celebrating? Our program was in the dumps, we were rebuilding and here you are celebrating 3-4 with your best player in 30 years? Pricless!

    Utah's expectation is Andre Miller 11-4 in the tournament.

    Let that sink in.

  • QDiesel SLC, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:14 p.m.

    The only hope BYU has to move up is if the Big 12 lets them in. The Pac 12 is not going to invite BYU. Utah was lucky to get in and needed Texas to say no to the Pac 12 and stay in the Big 12 to get in. If the Pac 12 expands, it will be to take Texas and Oklahoma or Notre Dame and then they would probably have to invite Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to get the deal to go through if they take Texas and Oklahoma. That would be a great 16 team conference as well. BYU maybe needs to play more of a cupcake schedule with no more than 4 games against the tougher teams in the Power 5 conferences every year.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:07 p.m.

    (faux)Utahalum:

    "Do you have any proof whatsoever that I'm not a Utah graduate and alum?"
    - It's not my job to prove a negative. Why don't you prove you are?
    ----
    "Caffeinated soft drinks have never been banned at BYU (they just weren't sold on campus)"
    - Haha. What do you think a "ban" is?
    ----
    "never even mentioned in BYU's honor code."
    - I never said it was. I only referenced that peculiar campus ban to illustrate how BYU-P fancies itself as the arbiter of how church doctrine should be interpreted and enforced. That mindset applies to caffeine, shorts, beards, etc., and how standards and policies GREATER that LDS worthiness standards are enforced upon everyone at BYU-P, members and non-members alike.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:05 p.m.

    “We all know there are great financial resources in the Power 5 conferences, and it was hard not to dream about what we could do with that money," Holmoe said.
    ---------------
    The great irony to this statement and where the BYU athletic program was, versus where they are now, is that their most successful era of athletic success can be directly linked to the huge difference in financial resources to that of their conference peers. BYU's WAC and MWC opponents weren't living in the same universe as BYU, financially speaking.
    BYU is simply seeing the other side of the coin now. While athletic programs can certainly rise up here and there, they'll always be unlikely to maintain success without having equal or greater resources to that of their competition...plain and simple.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:02 p.m.

    hi-ya - Murray, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:34 a.m.
    The rise and fall of Utah's Sports Writers… I am very ashamed at the way Utah's Sports Writers have put a dagger into what is a Legacy in the state of Utah.

    ----

    Yes blame the media, the GOP playbook.

    BYU isn't even a legacy in Utah County, see Chase Hansen and Covey.

  • DJ1993 Orem, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:04 p.m.

    I believe that BYU can compete and win despite the honor code and the other issues identified. We have done it in the past and Bronco showed that we could be competitive.

    If exposure is what we are looking for than it is more than having six or so games on ESPN at whatever time they are willing to show us. Which is funny because we started the MTN because we didn't like the times that ESPN wanted to show us.

    We need to be in the conversation when the college football playoff rankings are out and discussed every week. The way our schedule works with independence is that we are out of that conversation by the time the first rankings come out. Lets face it, a lot of college football is based on what people think about you and the ranking s are very subjective.

  • tototwo Montgomery Village, MD
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:53 a.m.

    Has anyone ever heard of "regression toward the mean?" Part of the explanation for the difficulty BYU's football program is experiencing may not be very complicated. Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman has an excellent explanation.

  • Cameron Scott Eagle Mountain, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:51 a.m.

    I love that so many of the top negative comments are from U fans. It seems that trolling their opponent whenever and wherever possible has become more important that, well, anything else...

    It's great that the U has had success, but why is it so necessary for you to be critical of your opponents (in particular, BYU)? It's not like the U (speaking as a whole, not just of the football program) is without challenge and controversy. It doesn't make you OR your team any "better"...just makes you sound like the whiny kid on the playground looking for vindication from the ice cream truck.

  • 8 eight times Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    I keep hoping to hear that BYU will cancel all sports programs, except for purely recreational student programs. BYU seems stuck in no-man's land between Babylon and the church, and it's not hard to see why. With higher education becoming ever-more politicized and secular, a school like BYU really doesn't fit in. And much worse than not fitting in would be it actually fitting in. At that point, what exactly is BYU except for an apostate institution leading students astray? I don't think that's in the vision for BYU. I hope not, even if some BYU scholars already cross that line regularly.

    In my opinion, the best thing BYU can do is simplify. Cut out all the extra fat, including the competitive sports programs, and focus on education and career prep. That change wouldn't fix everything. The world will still try to force BYU, and other religious schools, to violate their standards. But at least then the opposition will have less leverage than it has now. And at least then we won't be caught up in the college-sports quagmire of money and greed and drugs and abuse.

    I'm open to other viewpoints on this. This is just my current opinion.

  • estreetshuffle Window Rock, AZ
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:44 a.m.

    Mike Leach record at WSU
    2012Washington State3–91–86th (North)
    2013Washington State6–74–5T–4th (North)L New Mexico
    2014Washington State3–92–7T–5th (North)
    2015Washington State9–46–33rd (North)W Sun
    2016Washington State8–57–22nd (North)L Holiday
    2017Washington State9–26–2(North)
    They even beat Utah Utes 33-25.
    The Millennials have to learn one word in this instant gratification society "PATIENCE".

  • BlueCoug Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:41 a.m.

    Definition of Political Correctness,

    as defined by a certain prophet who once wrote:

    "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

    Unfortunately, that is the world we live in today, a landscape filled with politically correct landmines that are increasingly undermining long held values and standards.

    It is this landmine-strewn landscape that Tom Holmoe and BYU are forced to navigate to remain competitive in athletics while refusing to compromise their values and standards.

  • top of the world ,
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:31 a.m.

    Tampaute
    Inasmuch as your comment was addressed to me, and the DI staff opted to include it within this thread of comments that followed a very well-written article, I will voice my response. I am a BYU fan, and it was to BYU fans that your comment was directed, subtle poison and all. I would say, Tampaute, that from your comment it is not the BYU fans who need to partake of a slice of humble pie tomorrow, but you.

    It has been a very difficult season of football this year, and basketball will not rise too far above that level of performance, but there is something that you might want to note...the standards at the Y remain the same. They did not cave to societal demands and shifts. Perhaps you feel this promised land of ours is heading in the right direction. Our society has certainly changed in many ways that disturb me, not as a die-hard Y fan, but as a Christian who is concerned with what his grandchildren and their families might be faced with during the years ahead. But there is at least one organization that has remained strong in the face of all the ugliness. I will leave it for you to decide which organization I refer to.

    BYU, not perfect. Go Cougs!

  • Designer123 Centerville, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:24 a.m.

    It’s clear they need to be in a conference, and the sooner the better before it’s impossible to turn the ship around. Love the Cougs - just need to find a way to repair the damage.

  • Jello is Good ,
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:20 a.m.

    @BAKC - Litchfield Park, AZ
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:13 a.m.

    "Horrible article and nothing more than click bait. One losing season since 2004 and one loss for the b-ball program and all of a sudden the sports flagship for BYu should pack up and leave. Cmon, at the end of every season only one team lifts the NC trophy. Where was this article when the uTES had back to back losing seasons with Whit?"

    Dude, it is so obvious that you didn't even read the article and are just reading the comments. The article said nothing or even hinted at "packing it in", but suggested that there had been a decline in Football and what some of the reasons might be. It also suggested what might be done to change the downward trend. It's the trolls claiming to be Ute fans that are running around crying the sky is falling.

    After Utah's loss to Colorado this week they will have had three 5-7 records in the last six years and yet nobody is telling them to pull the plug on their program. Relax and let it be. It will all work out. Go home and hug your kids. Be thankful for what you have.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:14 a.m.

    xert

    "Most of the recent downfall has taken place since opening night Of the BOM musical..."

    Desperate try, but there's absolutely no empirical evidence to prove that there's a cause-effect relationship of any sort between the musical and BYU football.

    You can't even proof that the majority of patrons who have seen the musical are even casual football fans.

  • golfrUte SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:12 a.m.

    Very interesting article and the comment section has quite a variety of opinions. I'm a Ute alum and fan but I don't wish any ill will towards BYU.

    If BYU had been invited to join the PAC-12 when Utah was invited, they would have done so immediately without concern for any other institution. To hint that BYU was loyal to Utah during conference expansion discussions is ludicrous. It would have been great to have BYU and Utah in the same P5 conference but the state of Utah is a very small television market and money is always at the top of P5 conference priorities, hence the Utah & Colorado combination made sense.

    To suggest that the academic standards for admission to BYU are rigorous for athletes is ignoring the truth. There are student/athletes on the current football team whose high school academic performance disqualify them for admission. These students are admitted because of their football abilities and not their abilities in the classroom as is the case in most universities. I know this first hand from the parents of a student who currently plays at BYU.

    BYU has a unique challenge ahead and it will fascinating to see how things evolve.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • geekusprimus Little Elm, TX
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:12 a.m.

    Actually, the poor performance from the football team this season, while disappointing to the fans, has been an excellent reminder to the student body of the real purpose of BYU: a high-quality education offered in a clean and wholesome environment for a lower price tag than most public universities. While the football team is floundering, let me remind you of some of the other recent accomplishments of the university: BYU's physics department won more undergraduate research awards at a recent conference than any of the other universities in attendance; the university ranks no. 3 in the country for student engagement; the mechanical engineering department designed a water drill that has provided clean water to people in more than twenty-three countries; and a neuroscience undergrad won a prestigious award to present her research at a worldwide neuroscience conference.

    While all of you are contemplating the implications of an ailing athletic program, take a moment instead to consider the differences that will be made in the world because of BYU students succeeding in their chosen field of study.

  • Utah Alum Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:04 a.m.

    JohninSLC

    "(faux)Utahalum:"

    Do you have any proof whatsoever that I'm not a Utah graduate and alum?

    "Shorts, beards and hair length are NOT factors in church worthiness. Neither was caffeinated soft drink consumption"

    Caffeinated soft drinks have never been banned at BYU (they just weren't sold on campus) and they were never even mentioned in BYU's honor code.

    As far as grooming standards - BYU is similar to the military academies, but I've never heard of a single athlete who decided not to accept an athletic scholarship offer from BYU solely because of BYU's grooming standards.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 11:01 a.m.

    I have been waiting for an article that really made clear the state of the union as far as BYU athletics is concerned and this article finally did it. Very well written and credits to Doug Robinson and Dick Harmon for keeping it real. I have been a season ticket holder in football at BYU for 25 years -- not including the past 5. The team was awesome to watch. The players were great and BYU could beat anybody in the country on a given day. They were that good. The 80's and 90's were incredible and so much fun. Even upto about 2008 things were still pretty darn fun to watch. But as the article pointed out the world has changed -- unfairly in many ways-- but it is what it is and BYU was excluded from athletics mostly due to its uncompromising Christian standards. The NCAA is mostly secular and anti-Christian now and is very politically correct and BYU and the LDS church simply does not fit that mold. That is the bottom line. This is not the schools fault or the AD's fault or a coaches fault. This is really just a sad and ugly reflection of a declining America morality and society.

  • Jello is Good ,
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:58 a.m.

    @BYUObserver - Nampa, ID
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:42 a.m.

    "One thing I have never understood with regard to the honor code - repentance."

    Repentance is at the center of the honor code and I can tell you first hand. My son was attending BYU a few years back and he was caught stealing. Per the honor code he was dismissed from school. But school officials explained the way back. He had to meet with his Bishop regularly. Repent of what he did and make restitution and then forsake the sin. Once the Bishop was confident that he was ready, he applied for reinstatement. There was a course he had to complete on line describing the schools policy and he was back to school with only a semester off. The only people that know why he was dismissed were the standards office and his Bishop and it is not part of his transcript and file when he graduated.

    As to a toughere standard for athletes, that simply isn't so. It used to be a more lenient standard for athletes when I went there in the late 70's, but now it is the same.

  • TampaUte Tampa, FL
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:55 a.m.

    BYU Fans, this Thanksgiving you need to eat one very large piece of “humble pie” and when you do, your football team might garner an invite back to the MWC or maybe the Big Sky Conference. No need to rush though…Observing this carnage is truly entertaining.

  • Chamberlain Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:45 a.m.

    Uteology

    "BYU is the victim of discrimination?

    In the 1970's Stanford and San JosÉ State refused to play BYU because the LDS Church refused to allow black people to hold the priesthood."

    The LDS Church has allowed black people to hold the priesthood since 1978.

    it took MUCH longer than that for schools in the South to completely desegregate.

  • goodnight-goodluck Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:43 a.m.

    “We have been systematically kept out of not just the Pac-10, but after that, the Big 12,” says Fehlberg. “This has been good, old-fashioned religious discrimination masquerading as academic snobbery that legitimizes an otherwise untenable position.”

    Some would argue it's reaping what you've sown...

    With that being the case at least in this readers opinion it's very hard to recruit a quality candidate that can meet the standards, the individual knowing they will receive little if any exposure to a national audience vs being in a conference program.

  • FACTchequer Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:36 a.m.

    Thidder

    "We don't want BYU back. Difficult to work with, arrogant and self-serving."

    BYU is no more "self-serving" than any other program in the country.

    BYU dominated and carried the WAC from 1979 until the original WAC, became the MWC in the late 90's.

    BYU was only portrayed as being hard to work with, after BYU insisted that the MWC and Craig Thompson honor their agreement to give BYU rights to rebroadcast games.

  • BlueMoonOden Wilmette, IL
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:30 a.m.

    I am a Cougar fan who graduated from Ricks College and Northwestern. One problem I believe with BYU is they recruit almost exclusively from the west coast and sometimes Texas. I never understood why BYU ignored the rest of the country and LDS athletes in the Midwest, South, and East and this is one of the problems. BYU would never have fit in the Pac 12 which is far left and the Big 12 whose schools care nothing about honesty or morals. The fact that BYU has thumbed their nose at political correctness is a plus. The Honor Code and what the school stands for is more important then athletics.

  • DJ1993 Orem, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:26 a.m.

    I think that we as BYU fans overestimate our appeal. I think that the argument about leaving the MWC because we had a crappy TV deal forgets the BYU became BYU while playing in the WAC! A little patience at that moment could have gone a long ways. The decision seemed rushed like a child who didn't get the candy.

    The formula was play 1 or 2 tough out of conference teams and win those and then win the WAC. We could have continued to do the same thing in the MWC and in the process had a few special seasons like Boise St. and played in a new years bowl and then everyone is talking about BYU.

    Instead we play a front loaded schedule against teams that we can't beat and by October no one is talking about BYU. NO one is watching us beat UNLV on a Friday night and no one is watching us play Mass in November and no one is talking about BYU! So if exposure is what we are looking for I believe we can get more of it by returning to the formula that got us where we were in the first place.

    As a fan I enjoyed beating WYO, and San diego st. I really don't care if we beat E. Carolina or U Mass, we have no established rivalry with them and that stuff does matter in college football!

  • Oh Really? HERRIMAN, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:21 a.m.

    I have no idea how the MWC would accommodate BYU, much less why.

    Who would be their travel partner? What schools are in the footprint with full athletic programs? How would Conference members benefit? The Cougars are where they can be.

  • Chamberlain Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:20 a.m.

    Footballjoe

    "Playing in the Ivy League hasn’t hurt Harvard."

    Harvard finished the 2014 season UNDEFEATED at 10-0 and ranked #14 in the FCS,

    but, wasn't invited to the FCS playoffs,

    because the Ivy League allows its teams to compete for NCAA titles in virtually every competitive sport --

    EXCEPT FOOTBALL!

    Harvard has only played in ONE bowl game, EVER, the 1920 Rose Bowl.

    BYU has played in six bowls as an Independent.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:17 a.m.

    Most of the recent downfall has taken place since opening night Of the BOM musical, which is currently more influential than BYU football and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir combined, in truly introducing the world to BYU and Mormon culture—and potential players are delighted and a bit weirded out at the same time. It continues, with awards and glimmering reviews by the truckload and certainly an Oscar worthy film will soon be in the works. More people know and care about Elder Price than do about Marc Wilson or Luke Staley. And even Jimmer’s adventures in Asia are nowhere near as entertaining as Elder Cunningham’s in Uganda. Of course, the BOM musical is MOSTLY fictional and a goofy comedy, but then, so is BYU football and basketball. If you think this is all hyperbole, ask yourself—what would most people rather get in a card as a Christmas gift—two courtside seats for BYU against Pacific—or mid balcony seats for what some consider the greatest musical of this century? BOM rocks! BYU athletics? Not so much. PS—the I’m Mormon promotion is seen by most as fairly lame.

  • BAKC Litchfield Park, AZ
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:13 a.m.

    Horrible article and nothing more than click bait. One losing season since 2004 and one loss for the b-ball program and all of a sudden the sports flagship for BYu should pack up and leave. Cmon, at the end of every season only one team lifts the NC trophy. Where was this article when the uTES had back to back losing seasons with Whit?

    I remember when BYu had a one win b-ball season and they recovered just nicely. Whether BYu wins or loses, you’ll always have uTAH fans come calling, they can’t seem to get enough.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:13 a.m.

    An excellent article on this situation. But let me raise one more issue. Big time college sports and the missionary program are fundamentally incompatible. BYU can do a lot of good for the Church by fielding strong teams with little pressure to go on a mission. A mission disrupts skill developmen and top fitness, plus it affects the attitude and priorities of athletes who must be focused and tough. There is a lot of good in the missionary program, but it detracts from athletic success. Are there exceptions? Sure. But overall, I think I'm right.

  • Frank Walters Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:08 a.m.

    The vitriol on this comment board about a larger LDS recruiting population is stunning...this is exactly what got Roger Reid pushed out of town 25 years ago. How was everyone so stunned back then yet preaching the same thing here today? And yes, I realize that Reid's comments to Chris Burgess were not appropriate but if we think that LDS athletes will come to BYU just because they're LDS then you're preaching the exact same Reid-like sentiments.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:00 a.m.

    (faux)Utahalum:

    - Sunday play is not part of the honor code.
    - Buildings at the service academies are smoke free.
    - Cadets/middies cannot have been married.

    You're right, there is nothing EXACTLY like BYU-P's honor code--after all, BYU-H allows shorts on campus. But when it comes to student standards, the service academies are fraternal twins.

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:03 a.m.

    @mightymite - I agree completely. It baffles me that BYU continues to sponsor a violent full contact sport like football with proven problems with debilitating brain injuries when the University proudly proclaims that The Glory of God is Intelligence. Intelligence means making the hard decisions because they're the right decision, even if it has other consequences (like less exposure for the University). I'm surprised that BYU's Board of Trustees hasn't made a decision on this matter.

  • NorthboundZax Carbondale, IL
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:02 a.m.

    Great article, Doug.

    My gut tells me that while the LGBT point is a hurdle, it isn't an insurmountable one. I can't help think that the bigger religious issue to joining a P5 is the hard line BYU has drawn on Sunday play. The differences over LGBT issues ultimately occur on different campuses and if BYU brought enough to the table I think it could be overlooked. However, saying no to ever playing on Sunday is dictating how the conference and other teams have to directly accommodate them in perpetuity. When one side has non-negotiable terms on how other teams and the conference has to interact with them, insisting that the other side has to take-it-or-leave-it, it can't be that surprising that the negotiations have a tendency to leave it.

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 10:00 a.m.

    @ Thidder "We don't want BYU back. Difficult to work with, arrogant and self-serving."

    Please cite some evidence of this opinion. .. especially the arrogant and self - serving claim. If you are referring to the commitment to the Sabbath Day, Chastity, honesty, integrity etc. Then I guess we are arrogant. BYU is arrogant because......??? They are self serving more than anyone else is because......??? Simply trying to keep as many of the 10 commandments as we can. That edict was given to everyone, but the ones who try to keep them are considered arrogant and self serving. Whatever.

  • BlueCoug Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:57 a.m.

    Steve C Warren

    "With LDS membership at 16 million vs. the 4.5 million of 1980, it would seem that BYU would have such a huge natural pool of athletes to draw from that the Cougars should be a perennial top 10 in football and basketball. Yet, we are told that the honor code and high academic standards keep great LDS athletes from attending BYU."

    The vast majority of the increase in LDS membership occurred outside of the United State, in non-football playing countries.

    Hardly a huge natural pool of football-playing athletes.

    The Ziggy's of the world are few and far between, and even Ziggy, with all of his natural talent, took most of his BYU career before he was ready to make an impact on the field.

    And let's not forget, he initially came to BYU hoping to play basketball. He didn't even know how to don a pair of shoulder pads when he arrived in Provo.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:57 a.m.

    Athletic careers are very short, but real life goes on long after the games end! Games are for entertainment, education is for preparing for life. The two can coexist but one should never replace the other! At BYU it doesn't and obviously, that irritates some people.

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:53 a.m.

    While there were many other factors guiding the decision to independence in Football why does everyone forget that the mtnTV was horribly restrictive? Had BYU remained in the MWC the mtnTV would have remained alive and well, BYU paid the price for that restrictive agreement (monopolistic in my mind) between Comcast and CBS Sports.

    And few realize how loyal BYU was to Utah in past decades (majority of BYU's Board of Trustees were Utah grads) just to see Utah bolt on BYU.

    BYU's is a very complex story, not one piece outweighs any other. If it comes down to choosing athletics or morals we all know how BYU will choose. And I'd guess that most of us wouldn't have it any other way!

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:49 a.m.

    Amen to leaving behind activities that destroy brains and work against the church’s mission. It does seem strange to blame “religious discrimination” for the conference fiasco. When institutions engage in discrimination, they real the whirlwind of the wider society.

  • SportsFan Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:49 a.m.

    Utahute72

    "Kudos to the leadership at Utah that had the foresight and developed a plan to get Utah academically ready to join the PAC if that possibility came up."

    Academics had absolutely NOTHING to do with Utah's invitation, and BYU's lack of an invitation, to join the PAC 12.

    BYU's undergraduate academics are far superior to Utah's and BYU's research programs are on par with Utah's, BYU simply doesn't do as much research because they've chosen to devote most of their resources to undergraduate programs.

    BYU has the exact same high research standing as teams in the Big 12 South that the PAC 12 was ready to welcome with open arms until the PAC 10 / Big 12 South merger fell apart.

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:47 a.m.

    Football is not a good sport, it's too injury prone, and some injuries such as cte are turning out to be lasting, debilitating, and fatal. When US football begins to pay for the lasting effects of these injuries, and the accompanying lawsuits, US football will have to change.
    Football is not a good missionary tool, football is a rah rah sport not a thinking man's way to get physical exercise, football is not the only way to develop team skills.
    Football on the intercollegiate level is expensive, I'd rather use that money for education, and I'd rather see universities compete intellectually.
    The entire discussion of entry into a power 5 conference is far too ego centric.
    Pro football should finance the training of future football players, possibly as an after school program, not taking away from real education as intercollegiate football does now.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:45 a.m.

    Excellent, informative article.

    With LDS membership at 16 million vs. the 4.5 million of 1980, it would seem that BYU would have such a huge natural pool of athletes to draw from that the Cougars should be a perennial top 10 in football and basketball. Yet, we are told that the honor code and high academic standards keep great LDS athletes from attending BYU. In other words, LDS jocks are behaving like jocks everywhere. Perhaps as a church we need to take a closer, institutional look at why that appears to be the case.

    Another issue that may be uncomfortable but needs to be assessed is whether with the increasing numbers of returned missionaries on the teams, is there an emerging athletic inferiority taking place among faithful Mormon males? If so, I hope it's not a Darwin thing related to missionary service that is causing these young LDS males to evolve into a slower, weaker and, perhaps, fatter species.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:38 a.m.

    I see nothing praiseworthy or of good report in college football...why do we continue to seek after these things?

  • Footballjoe South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:39 a.m.

    When Utah went to the PAC 12 BYU felt left behind and opted for Independence and Exposure and there were many, many articles, quotes from BYU officials about how good Independence was going to be for BYU. BYU has both Independence and Exposure but perhaps not as imagined.

    Going forward BYU is faced with some real issues including 1. Not playing on Sunday, 2. LGBT opposition, 3. Honor code limiting many athletes from attending, 4. Impression, accurate or not, that BYU is difficult to work with (History of bolting first from the WAC, then the Mountain West with a proposed side deal with Utah State).

    The article compared attendance at hypothetical Utah and BYU games with BYU in the Mountain West. Playing in the Ivy League hasn’t hurt Harvard.

    It’s Interesting to note that on any given weekend in the Boston area one might be able to see Harvard, Boston College and the Patriots. All three attract viewers that are having a great time, but each entity has different objectives. The Ivy League hasn’t hurt Harvard. Perhaps BYU should focus on academics and developing outstanding Christian citizens. BYU might be better competing with Harvard instead of Alabama!

  • Utah Alum Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:38 a.m.

    JohninSLC

    "And remember, the honor code is not unique. Just spend some time at one of the service academies or similar institutions (VMI, Citadel, etc) to see the similarities."

    BYU's honor code and the LDS Church's standards are absolutely unique.

    - no Sunday play
    - no alcohol or tobacco
    - no pre-marital sexual relationships

  • Thidder MAPLETON, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:32 a.m.

    Good article. I have no idea where BYU athletics are headed, I wish them well. It looks like an uphill battle. One thing is for sure, BYU needs a conference. But please, don't consider the MWC. We don't want BYU back. Difficult to work with, arrogant and self-serving. As a result the overwhelming MWC members do not want BYU. Find your fame elsewhere. Perhaps the Sun Belt. This would put BYU inside Big 12 country, perhaps they could then look as a possible member of the BIG 12 in a few years.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:34 a.m.

    The trouble with media coverage of BYU sports (form KSL to DN to BYUtv) is that you tend to exaggerate how GOOD the teams are...and how BAD they are.

    I suppose you are trying to support Sitake, but it seems the sports reporters were the last to admit that the Cougars were lousy this year. When you finally have nowhere to hide, you write stories like this one.

    Rare talent, team chemistry, injuries, schedule mo...all combine to change the W-L each year.

    New next year: Serious football on Conference Weekend.

  • Utahute72 Tooele, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:31 a.m.

    Trueblue misses the point of that comment.

    The myth that BYU tried to get Utah into the PAC 12 was blown away by the truth. BYU was about getting them in the PAC 12. If Utah being brought in as a travel partner helped, fine, but they didn't try to get Utah in for an alturistic reason.

    Kudos to the leadership at Utah that had the foresight and developed a plan to get Utah academically ready to join the PAC if that possibility came up. They realized what it took and actually developed a plan instead of holding to the myopic view that people would take them just because of who they were.

  • BobinCary Pocatello, ID
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:15 a.m.

    The time is right! Get out of Babylon! Just leave. There is no good thing that can accompany remaining in intercollegiate sports. Adopt the intramural program implemented at BYU-Idaho and leave the increasingly corrupted fantasy land of "student athletes."

  • BYU Optimistic Realist Layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:08 a.m.

    Join the Mountain West Conference. Negotiate the same deal Boise State has, where ESPN has rights to televise all home games. That takes care of the exposure BYU craves. BYU can still schedule the P-5 schools the first four weeks of the season as they currently do (2019 schedule has Utah, Tennessee, Washington, and USC the first 4 weeks and nobody of note after that). Work a deal with Mountain West that the final game each season is against Boise State, which will hopefully be for the division championship each year. BYU has a realistic shot at playing in one of the Big 6 New Year's Bowls. BYU's other sports aren't playing in high school gyms any more. Problem solved.

  • CiudadMXCoug Mexico, 00
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:07 a.m.

    BYU has hit a brick wall culturally, politically and athletically. I don't see it getting better. I was an athlete at BYU under Val Hale during Lavell's second to last season. Even Lavell saw the writing on the wall back then. The Cotton Bowl was our peak. BYU won't win again until it models Notre Dame and Gonzaga from a religious standpoint...aka, have a code of honor, but that is only enforced by one's self rather than an administration. This would allow BYU to recruit coaches, players, etc. not of our faith...but of faith who believe in BYU's mission. -- But that said...that will never happen. BYU prides itself on its unwavering standards.

    Brian Kelly (head coach at Notre Dame) has had both incredible and horrible seasons as a head coach...but his team's boosters and following aren't tied to the veracity of the Catholic church. He simply needs to coach at a school with high moral and academic standards.

    We asked way too much of our athletic program the second we declared it was a missionary arm of the church. -- I play ultimate frisbee, but I sure am glad that I'm not being judged as a missionary for my play. I just like to throw the disc and run around.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:03 a.m.

    "In this ever-changing world, the LDS church and BYU will never lower the bar on the honor code"

    BYU-Palum:

    Excuse me, but the coog honor code is NOT controlled by the church so much as by the BYU-P mandarins. Shorts, beards and hair length are NOT factors in church worthiness. Neither was caffeinated soft drink consumption, but it took 60+ years to end that bizarre ban because the folks at BYU-P have considered themselves the sole arbiters of how church doctrine should be interpretted on campus.

    Now I get that the core church standards has to be the nucleus of some sort of honor code. But keep in mind the church doesn't ban people from church membership for anything but major transgressions (and they still can attend church meetings), yet for some reason BYU-P feels it has to operate differently.

    And remember, the honor code is not unique. Just spend some time at one of the service academies or similar institutions (VMI, Citadel, etc) to see the similarities. But they do it to better prepare their students for the real world they will live in. BYU-P does it to shield its students from the real world.

  • BlueCoug Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 9:04 a.m.

    Jello is Good

    "I think a football only membership in the AAC would meet all the needs brought up in this article. If that doesn't happen, we keep going independent. It's what we do best."

    Agree 100%

    The only thing BYU needs to do to make Independence viable is WIN.

    If BYU had had a 10+ win season this year, this conversation wouldn't even be taking place.

    Every program has down seasons. BYU fans simply need to be patient and give Sitake time to improve his talent and coaching staff. Except for a handful of very good players, Bronco left the cupboard bare.

  • Kaladin Northern, CO
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:58 a.m.

    A very harsh open article is written about BYU athletics and some Ute fans somehow still twist it so the takeaway to them is that BYU is pious and holier-than-thou. That narrative is completely false and the only people in Utah that make BYU holier-than-thou are some Ute fans. To say we shouldn't sell out on the honor code makes us pious? To say recruiting should be aligned with the standards of the church makes us holier-than-thou? NO! That is silly and you know it. Sure, there are the odd-ball BYU fans that may act that way, but they are odd-ball and not the vast majority of us BYU fans. Please stop spinning that false narrative. But then, how are you to feel holier-than-BYU without it?

  • Procoug Layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:59 a.m.

    I went to BYU for the athletics, not the academics and not the honor code. I followed the honor code, for the most part, but did so because that is how I wanted to live my life. I had roommates who did not follow the honor code as strictly as some others and I was OK with that too. The honor code should be just that, an honor code. It should not be policible and certainly should not be something that students feel like they need to sell out their friends and roommates over. BYU students should strive to live and work towards living the honor code but any type of moral offenses should be taken care of in the confines of their clergy not an honor code enforcement office.
    BYU has super high academic standards but there are still kids with mediocre scores who get in. I have seen it first hand. How they get in, I have no idea.
    BYU... Quit making it so hard and un-fun for athletes to go to school there. Quit making football players worry about their every step. Start winning!

  • TrueBlue Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:53 a.m.

    at long last. . .

    "The author uses every excuse available and accentuates every questionable positive in the article"

    Only from a hater's point of view.

    BYU not being invited to join a P5 conference has nothing to do with the excellence of BYU's athletic programs, but everything to do with religious bigotry and intolerance.

    It's interesting how BYU tried to get Utah into the PAC 10 in the late 90's, but the PAC 10 was only interested in BYU and BYU wasn't invited because there wasn't a viable travel partner available at the time..

  • Joyfully American Fork, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:52 a.m.

    Good grief. It's the day before Thanksgiving and the front page headline (not sports section, but front page!) in the Deseret News is about BYU football. This is only because of the current disappointing football season. So tired of the almost daily articles bashing BYU by everyone in the press. I get it.... I'm a fan, but with all we have to be grateful for in this community, was this necessary today? Give it a rest for a few minutes!

  • Ben H Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:52 a.m.

    There are two things that this article ignores.

    First, one bad season is NOT the end of the world. Every program has a bad season now and again. Of course, that doesn't sell newspapers or get people talking. If BYU puts together a string of 3 wins seasons, THEN then sky is falling. If BYU bounces back next season, this season is an astrix.

    Second, there are factors that this article did not consider, or minimized. One is the effect of lower ages for missions. BYU used to get at least one semester before kids would leave for missions. This was the opportunity to help condition them for being away from sports for two years. With kids going directly out of high school, that opportunity is lost. This is unfortunate coming from a parent of a son who waited for two years before going on a mission.

    Third, there are only a handful of basketball program that are relevant in this day of one and off to pro sports. Most of the P5 teams aren't in that group. How else do you explain how Duke can get to the Final Four almost every season with half a team of freshmen? If the NBA fixes this issue, the rest of college basketball will become relevant again.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:50 a.m.

    BYUalum.."In this ever-changing world, the LDS church and BYU will never lower the bar on the honor code like so many other in the world do for politically correct reasons. "

    "The article discussed the discretion that Edwards was allowed when it came to retaining and working with players who failed to meet the requirements of the honor code"

    First of all stop the dog whistle "politically correct" nonsense. When the rest of the world sees society different than you do, it's not "politically correct", it's different. Support of same sex marriage is not "politically correct" it's a moral decision.

    To finally publically admit how Edwards managed to recruit the level of talent he did, is refreshing. I personally had a work colleague who played there in the 80's and was very open about if you were a starter you were managed. If you weren't a starter you were discarded.

    I'm sure the program is run more consistent with published values now, just live with the results and quit whining...oh wait it's BYU.

  • Florida-Cougar Melbourne, FL
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:50 a.m.

    It's refreshing to read an article that's well-researched (including interviewing a variety of sources), and clearly written. I believe I understand why they declined, but I wish the AD and university president would have participated in this piece, as well as others representing the current leadership of BYU.

    I was a member of the Cougar Marching Band beginning in 1983 and 84, a non-LDS student from the east coast, who was attracted to BYU by the honor code (I eventually joined the church, served a mission, and was just released as bishop). As thrilling as it was to literally have a front row seat to the athletic success of those years, I whole-heartedly support the priority shift of the Mendenhall era, that better aligned the football program with the standards that make BYU great.

    It wasn't a national championship that changed my life, it was the honor code, and the people who live it!

    Go Cougars!

  • suzcnoor Logan, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:49 a.m.

    BYU isn’t independent. It’s alone in the wilderness. BYU has also worked hard to further alienate itself from good kids, good recruits, even good students, who don’t meet all it’s raised bar standards now in play. The recruiting pool diminishes. Yet, we still have several chosen athletes who would rather drink or smoke weed or partake in other such off limit activities than play their sport. Meanwhile, their are great kids passed over dying to get chance to suit up and play their guts out. But you will still ask me, as a dedicated Cougar Club member, to open up my wallet and wide and give a little more come January. And I will. Because I am a Cougar and I believe and hope for better. Better effort please and most of all a return on my investment. Go Cougars.

  • Cougarista Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:43 a.m.

    BYU's primary mission is excellence in education along with the honor code. Sports are subservient to those goals. I hope it never changes. The tail must not wag the dog.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:42 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil

    re: "societal changes, politics and big money stand in contrast to BYU’s commitment to its honor code and religious and educational mission."

    "Just stop right there. This load of "blank" needs to stop. The pretense that BYU alone has to deal with these issue, that BYU alone has a "code of conduct", or that BYU academics are so far tougher than Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt..... needs to stop."

    It's interesting how you glossed over religious and honor code issues, and only considered academics in your diatribe.

    NONE of the schools you cited - Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt - have the strict honor code and religious standards that BYU has to deal with:

    - no Sunday play
    - no alcohol
    - athletes suspended for moral issues that wouldn't even raise an eyebrow at other schools
    - religious bigotry

    And let's not forget, ALL of them, except Notre Dame, were firmly entrenched in P5 conferences long before the wave of religious intolerance, that is sweeping the country, began. Duke, Stanford, and Vanderbilt all abandoned their once close ties to religious entities decades ago.

  • BYUObserver Nampa, ID
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:42 a.m.

    One thing I have never understood with regard to the honor code - repentance. This is a very delicate issue and I surely don't have the answer on how to balance standards, behavior, discipline - both self-discipline and corrective discipline, but in all of the conversations about the standards at BYU I do not recall repentance ever being mentioned as a standard. Clearly, discipline is essential to a team and an athlete and punishment for breaking rules is essential to team discipline at almost any level, but repentance (and the attendant forgiveness, grace, restitution, change, etc) seems also to be as essential.

    Some of the greatest challenges to my faith have been related to the question - Do I really believe in repentance - not for myself but for others? So it seems to be at BYU.

    Lastly, it seems like these athletes are held to a higher standard than the general student population. I have some first hand acquaintance with that although those experiences were about 20 years ago and things may have changed for the general student population, but I am aware of situations where forgiveness is given and a student is allowed to continue is school.

  • DonO Draper, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:38 a.m.

    I disagree with Val Hale in the final paragraph. I believe BYU football will not come back. It is in a death spiral from which it can't recover without changes that no one, from ownership on down, is willing to make. It was a good run for certain. But it's over. The school and its owners, who I know can't or won't change their MO, would do well to cut their losses and pull the plug. Basketball and the other less expensive sports can probably survive, at least for awhile, but BYU football is dead.

  • Jello is Good ,
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:36 a.m.

    Very well written article. BYU fanatics claim the author is trashing the program. BYU haters masquerading as Ute fans claim the author is making excuses. I think it was an honest look at where we are and how we got here with a few suggestions as to where to go next.

    Timing is everything. Our timing has been bad, but we will not change who we are and what we believe. Many throw stones at us for our beliefs. This is not new and will continue. BYU will continue to be the educational face of the LDS church. It will represent it's beliefs and its mission. If and when an individual athlete, or even the whole athletic program, no longer accomplishes this mission, it will be removed.

    I believe the only chance at a P5 conference is the Big12, but waiting for something that is a slim possibility may put us in a worse position. Going back to the MWC accomplishes nothing for what the LDS church and BYU want this football program to do.

    I think a football only membership in the AAC would meet all the needs brought up in this article. If that doesn't happen, we keep going independent. It's what we do best.

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:34 a.m.

    @65TossPowerTrap - Salmon, ID

    The reason is BYU likes not having to share their money with the other teams. BYU & Utah carried the WAC/MWC for years. Now BYU wants to be the only kid in the sand box.

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:32 a.m.

    The biggest thing that hurt the BYU Football program was when Ricks College became BYU-Idaho!

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:30 a.m.

    I think the BYU program is destined to forever be on par with the football programs of the Savannah State, Kennesaw State, and Chadron State football programs. Talented recruits have many options and they'd rather play for major conference teams than get their brains beaten in by SEC teams because they're playing alongside recruits from Panguitch High School.

  • Natester Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:29 a.m.

    An interesting read, Doug. Well researched with a solid point. I'll forever be amazed at the amount of Ute fan interest in BYU-centered articles. BYU will be fine. In Div. I football, there is a fine line between winning and losing seasons for many schools. Would an article like this have been written about Notre Dame last year when they only won 4 games? It's easy to be critical when times are tough but true sports fans hang with their team, regardless.

  • jimmer65 el dorado hills, ca
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:29 a.m.

    A number of universities are succeeding while enforcing tight academic and moral standards (see Stanford and Notre Dame).

    The problem at BYU is leadership. How do you justify hiring Holmoe after his poor administrative skills nearly killed Cal’s Football program (see Holmoe’s Cal coaching record)?

    How do you choose a head coach without a single NCAA win in Kalani over a proven coach with multiple 10 win seasons in Ken of Navy?

    Why has there been no shake up in the abysmal football programs’s coaching staff? At the least, Detmer should be gone for leading the worst offense in the country. Good programs and good coaches own up to mistakes and remove them immediately.

    This year’s Football debacle will cost the university millions of dollars in lost TV and stadium revenues. One of the CEO GAs needs to grab the bull by the horns and gut the whole thing , starting with Holmoe.

  • cjd1 Draper, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:25 a.m.

    Like they say, it starts at the top. Holmoe killed the Cal football program with a 1-10 record his last year there before he quit. He needs to go and I dont see that happining.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:24 a.m.

    Maybe BYU and BSU would be in the Big 10 today if BYU would have stayed in the MWC,

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:24 a.m.

    Uteology

    "He [Jimmer] went 3-4 in the tournament, one sweet 16.

    Utah is 3-2 in the tournament in the last 3 years, one sweet 16."

    Four losses in the tournament means Jimmer never missed the Big Dance. He was only a starter his Junior and Senior, and if not for Davies being suspended just before the tournament, BYU would have been a serious contender for the Final Four and a National Championship.

    Two losses in the tournament means the Utes only qualified for the tournament 2 out of 3 seasons (it's actually MUCH worse than that if you count all of the seasons Utah didn't qualify for the tournament in the last decade), and even with Poeltl, Utah got destroyed in the tournament by WCC Gonzaga.

    Jimmer, on the other hand, even without Davies, was ONE made free-throw in regulation from making it to the Elite Eight.

  • Idaho forever South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:18 a.m.

    I was attending classes at the U in the early 70's when BYU made the decision to "lower the bar" in order to recruit athletes. They won some games, but sold out the institution.

  • Caddis Terry, MT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:14 a.m.

    Utah Blue Devil, I attended 4 different colleges / Universities in pursuit of my earned degrees. And I can say with certainty that the BYU honor code is pretty unique. Not saying better or worse, just close to one of a kind. To say that the The BYU honor code does effect recruiting and retention of athletes. I read this story not feeling like anyone was saying that BYU was more stringent academically than Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, etc. It was noted that several past players have said that they would not have been admitted into today’s BYU and that in the past, coaches were given more leniency to work with kids who were not at the top of the heap academically. I dont read it as pius-ness. I get your point. And there is an element of truth in what you say. I’m not arguing with you at all. I just respectfully come away from the article looking at it differently.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:15 a.m.

    Stop with the excuses. There's a number of top notch well qualified administrators and coaches out there. What if Danny Ainge was the AD and Andy Reid was the football coach. They both love BYU. Why aren't they here? I know these examples are extreme and BYU could never match their present salaries but I'm using them to make my point.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:01 a.m.

    hi-ya,
    You get plenty of ponies and rainbows in "This edition" every day.

  • Juice Box Eureka, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:02 a.m.

    Tom Holmoe ruined BYU football with independence. Terrible knee jerk decision. He needs to go. Bronco got out just in time. Even he was vocal about getting into a conference.

  • blue & white Boise, ID
    Nov. 22, 2017 8:01 a.m.

    Higher academic and moral standards will further squeeze the Cougars' recruiting pool," wrote Chad Nielsen.
    Keep the moral standards but look at lowering academic standards. How do our academic standards compared to the top 25 schools in the polls? There must be good moral athletes, members of the church or not, with a lower GPA that will benefit the program and the student.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:48 a.m.

    The author uses every excuse available and accentuates every questionable positive in the article, but still can't escape the fact that things are going very wrong with the TDS sports and will most likely get worse. There are obviously fundamental problems here which quite possibly cannot be changed. One problem that can be changed (and probably should be. . .) is AD Holmoe.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:27 a.m.

    Interesting article but I think Mr. Robinson missed the most important point! Athletics are not BYU's highest priority and never really were! Athletic programs for most universities are about generating revenue: entertainment! The more they win, the more money they receive! I am not suggesting money from athletics is unimportant at BYU, I am saying its not their highest priority! In other words, BYU is on a different mission! Administrators, leaders and most students at BYU know God doesn't care as much about college sports as He does about His children's progress! Carry on, enjoy your games but always remember there are many things much more important than winning football or basketball games! At BYU its about keeping priorities correct! Athletic careers are short, but real life goes on long after the games end!

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:18 a.m.

    This article was very harsh about BYU as it took us back thru' the years on the sports scene. Sadly, this has been a difficult year for the football program. No one is more disappointed than the fan base. Will we jump ship and criticize this great school for holding to its core principles and standards? NO!

    Will this same reporter ever make any other sports program in any other school hold to such a gold standard? NO!

    In this ever-changing world, the LDS church and BYU will never lower the bar on the honor code like so many other in the world do for politically correct reasons. Thank goodness, we cannot be pressured by public opinion.

    Forever and forever, no matter what, I love BYU and all that it embraces. Thousands want to go to school there and cannot because of the sheer numbers. Until you attend on the BYU campus, you cannot know for sure why the demand is so high. I do. I am so proud to be a BYU alum!

    Go BYU Cougar nation! Go BYU!

  • BlueCoug Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:14 a.m.

    65...

    What “bad” decisions has Holmoe made?

    As the article clearly states, staying in the MWC would not have given BYU the national exposure BYU sought, and still seeks.

    NOBODY, nationally, cares about the MWC.

    Bad seasons happen to ever program.

    The Basketball rose from a 1-25 season, to contending for a National Championship, before losing Davies just before the NCAA Tournament.

    The football program will be back.

    BYU fans just need to be patient.

  • my3cents Nashville, TN
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:12 a.m.

    Members of the LDS church in the Rocky Mountain west greatly overestimate how much people outside the church value the church and schools commitment to what they see as very outdated Judeochristian morals and values. The rules against hair and beards is seen as something Luddite. We have also seen that the LDS church hierarchy have repeatedly shown a great lack of understanding of how their words and policies concerning gay people are perceived by the rest of the country. When the policy change concerning not baptizing the children of gay couples created a firestorm, the church chided it's members for taking things out of context instead of acknowledging their own ham handedness in the matter. I love BYU. I love the church. I understand the need to not compromise morals or doctrine, but I hardly think we have been "wise as serpents and harmless as doves" in the way this issue and these nice people have been handled. I'm surprised we even get people to play us. I don't see any conference accepting us anytime soon.

  • TruBias Gilbert, AZ
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:06 a.m.

    Does this apply to the sports programs inability to connect with athletes that aren't "reaching the bar"? Isn't religion supposed to help people on their individual journey back to God? If you don't let them in, you can't help them change...

    "I am older now and I am finding more and more younger people who claim to be atheist or agnostic because they are so disgusted by the way people who claim to be religious act. Anytime religion becomes arbitrarily inclusive and does not reach out to everyone, whenever religion represents itself as it’s our way or it’s evil, that is going to drive away people who otherwise could have a stronger faith and I think make religion a positive force in the world." -Jeff Guinn, author

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 7:02 a.m.

    Football causes brain damage (CTE). It's hard to watch strong men damaging their brains for our entertainment while we eat pizza, drink beer and than God we don't have brain damage.

    I wonder what memory care center the quarterback like Jim McMahon will "live" in and what part we played in his CTE brain damage and others.

    Football is an extreme and destructive sport and should be shunned and replaced with baseball, soccer, and basketball.

    We don't need to brain damages others for our personal entertainment and gratification.

  • Kikioahu Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:59 a.m.

    Very well written and interesting article. Thank you Doug Robinson. BUY has a mission and will stick with it. Good for them. Let's not get too excited on what the record of the football or men's basketball team is. "For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he marks - not that you won or lost - but how you played the game." Grantland Rice.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:55 a.m.

    "societal changes, politics and big money stand in contrast to BYU’s commitment to its honor code and religious and educational mission."

    Just stop right there. This load of "blank" needs to stop. The pretense that BYU alone has to deal with these issue, that BYU alone has a "code of conduct", or that BYU academics are so far tougher than Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt..... needs to stop. The playing of "we are the only school with morals" card ( more of a bluff ) needs to stop now.

    Part of the reason BYU is having a hard time is it builds this false narrative around itself. Pretending that at other schools the players are just stumbling between one wild drunken party to another between practices is just embarrassing. As a BYU fan, I hate that fans use this card as a crutch, an excuse, and an insult at other programs.

    When it comes to players getting their degrees - BYU isn't even in the top 25. Utah State is, ranked 20th. The top three? Boston College (3), Notre Dame (2), and Northwestern (1). The top two are catholic schools - with strong codes of conduct. And both are ranked this year.

    Enough excuses. And enough Pius-ness.

  • Louisiana Cougar Pineville, LA
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:48 a.m.

    BYU athletics is fun . . . . but BYU will never return to being world class again. I enjoyed watching the football team for many years and continue to enjoy following basketball, volleyball, and golf.

    But BYU won't be invited into a Power 5 conference for the political reasons noted . . . and can no longer dominate in recruiting the best LDS players anymore. So . . . the programs will continue at the level of "mid major" in perpetuity. Occasionally, the football team will play in a bowl game. Even in the West Coast Conference BYU will struggle to make the NCAA Tournament. They will probably be a perennial NIT team. . . . but the inflated hopes generated from past glory years will never be achieved again.

    Does it matter to me? No . . . and it really shouldn't in a world that struggles to avoid a $100 trillion national debt for our grandchildren, world hunger, and the deterioration of moral values. BYU's real focus should turn to addressing social issues -- including providing opportunities for the 47% of high school students in the 50 largest cities who drop out and need role models by creating doctoral programs for American minorities. . . . Now, that matters!

  • Caddis Terry, MT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:44 a.m.

    Well written article. Very well written. It’s time to look at reality. Get in a conference. Look at What Boise State does. Move on.

  • hi-ya Murray, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:34 a.m.

    The rise and fall of Utah's Sports Writers… I am very ashamed at the way Utah's Sports Writers have put a dagger into what is a Legacy in the state of Utah. I would have expected this from the Sister Program who supports the program on the East side on the Hill. But, people expect different things from this Edition in that supposedly they represent the same ideology of BYU. Sometimes this Edition, the Morning Edition and the Afternoon Edition, the evil Edition, they act as if they are flip sides of the same coin. Prove me wrong????

  • cougs108 South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:32 a.m.

    Wow, the truth hurts?

  • Coyoteghost Saint George, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:28 a.m.

    In this well researched article regarding the present status, difficulties and future for B.Y.U. football I waited for the broader issue of concussions, lifetime impairment to surface. It never did. Yet, increasingly, more and more parents are making the decision to steer their kids away from football.

    My guess is that this issue will become even more important for the L.D.S. Church and its moral and ethical decisions in forthcoming deliberations at the highest level as to whether publicity is more important.

  • UtahBy44 Beaver, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:27 a.m.

    Doug that was actually a very good article.
    I agree with everything but two issues left out.
    The BYU arrogance during the BIG-10 talks and Tom Holmoe's ludicrous leadership and direction out of the Mt. West into Independence. Those were the two nails in the coffin.
    I would like to see the BYU phoenix rise from the ashes and I believe Kalani can do it if his hands weren't so tied down.
    I admired BYU in the days of greatness and hated loosing to them but now its a joke.
    Every team has their obstacles as you mentioned, I get the one's BYU has but work through them and start to rebuild, the ring to grab in the BIG-10 I believe has past for good, get rid of Holmoe, eat some humble pie and go back into the Mt. West Con. it can be done. I wish BYU well. Miss the Good/Bad ol days.

  • Samwise Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:26 a.m.

    Come on, people. Athletic programs go through rises and falls all the time. There is absolutely no reason to assume that BYU will stay in this rut forever. Go Cougars!

  • Jefferson, Thomas Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:25 a.m.

    It’s simple to me. Decide what the primary mission of the institution is, then align an athletic program that matches it. That will likely mean leaving the absolutely crazy, crazy sports world behind. The world of million dollar coaching salaries and premadona athletes with lower personal standards will continue to widen the gap with BYU. That’s ok. The world is not going to come byu’s Direction. The gap will grow. Let them go. Lots of really good kids don’t get into BYU, replaced by athletes that don’t even closely measure up to most of the kids that are turned away. Let the prime time sports scene go. Let it go.

  • O-Coord must go PITTSBURGH, PA
    Nov. 22, 2017 6:15 a.m.

    If we want to be a P5 football team, we need a P5 coach and staff. And let's be honest, the current staff isn't nor ever will be. So both Holmoe and Sitake (and staff) have to go. Time for a complete reboot before we get too far down the wrong path with no chance of turning back. This season has been a complete and utter disaster, beyond embarrassing. Sitake is a nice guy but he's in over his head. Let's fix the problem now while we can.

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 5:54 a.m.

    Thank you, Scott Robinson, for exposing the real issues with BYU athletic programs, particularly the football program. I don't pretend to have any answers to the present malaise we are seeing but rotating coaches is not the answer. There are deep institutional issues as brought out in the article. Whether they can be overcome remains to be seen. Like anyone who has been a BYU fan since the 70's, I want the Cougars to succeed. However, BYU needs to look at themselves honestly before changes can take place. I believe this article is a start in the right direction.

  • Still Waiting Orem, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 5:35 a.m.

    Great article. These are truths we all know. BYU needs a conference. I just don't believe it will happen with a P5 conference given the political and social atmosphere which is a shame for the Cougs.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Nov. 22, 2017 5:22 a.m.

    Like any sports team, anywhere coaching plays such a big if not biggest part of the success of the program.
    Without being indignant, BYU has run this program into the ground with bad decisions from management.
    Something pretty drastic has to happen.

  • Hoosier87 American Fork, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 5:08 a.m.

    Good article.

    For all the comments certain to follow that BYU doesn’t get the recruits anymore, I don’t agree. BYU is getting great recruits, they’re just not using them correctly.

    Countless times a new coach comes in and turns around a program immediately. Look at Lane Kiffen at FAU. In one year he turned them into Conference champions. He did it with essentially the same talent that went 3-9 the year before. What’s the difference? Using your talent wisely. BYU is NOT doing that. Detmer proved he’s not capable of doing that.

    The Mountain West is also definitely NOT the answer. BYU needs to keep the course until they get into a Power 5. BYU is unique - and very capable of making Independence work. You win games, all this hand wringing goes away.

    How in the world would the MW Conference make BYU better? The argument is childish. So BYU football is so bad now that they can’t beat UMass? Can’t beat Utah State? Come on! This is a direct result of coaching, plain and simple.

    Keep the honor code, stay Independent, but get better coaching. Problem solved. The BYU brand is priceless!

  • kurguzy Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 2:40 a.m.

    Great article. I wonder if this would have been written if BYU had won a couple more football games though.

  • keithlue Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:58 a.m.

    Interesting read, but such pathetic excuses. Bottom line, stop condemning others and being superficial - embrace diversity. The desired outcome is to enlarge the influence of Brigham University in a world we wish to improve. President Spencer W. Kimball called for alumni to become rising stars in his Second Century speech at BYU in 1975. So enough already, just do it. #RISEUP

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:16 a.m.

    I do not know if politics and religion are the reasons BYU is not in a P5 conference. Their problem is bad timing. Utah peaked at the right time and BYU football hasn't been relevant since the 90's.

  • IQ92 hi, UT
    Nov. 22, 2017 1:07 a.m.

    A most level-headed article on BYU. To me it lacked one critical perspective: that of LDS church leaders' view of the value/future of investing (funds, energy, time, etc.) in American semi-pro sports.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:53 a.m.

    “We have been systematically kept out of not just the Pac-10, but after that, the Big 12,” says Fehlberg. “This has been good, old-fashioned religious discrimination masquerading as academic snobbery that legitimizes an otherwise untenable position.”

    ------------

    BYU is the victim of discrimination?

    In the 1970's Stanford and San JosÉ State refused to play BYU because the LDS Church refused to allow black people to hold the priesthood.

    Just accept that fact that BYU doesn't meet the standards of the PAC-12.

  • Eddie Would Go FPO, AE
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:50 a.m.

    Doug Robinson,

    thank you for writing a long-overdue article about the state of BYU athletics.

    About BYU football you said, "Since 2009 the Cougars are 14-22 against Power 5 teams and 3-13 against ranked teams."

    Those aren't encouraging numbers, but I think they are worse than that.

    The last time BYU beat a team that FINISHED the season ranked in the AP Poll was 2009. In seasons 2010-2016, BYU is 0-11 against such teams.

    Coincidentally, the last time BYU FINISHED the season ranked in the AP Poll was 2009.

    In 2017, BYU is 0-3 against currently ranked teams.

    One other thing, you said, "It became a choice between Ken Niumatalolo — the head coach at Navy — and Kalani Sitake — the Oregon State assistant and former BYU fullback... After much behind-the-scenes vacillation, the Cougars chose Sitake, the passing game and Detmer — they were a package deal."

    In December 2015, the Deseret News reported that "Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo was offered the job to be BYU’s new head coach this week."

    Did BYU turn down Coach Niumatalolo, or vice versa?

  • Mack2828 Ft Thomas, KY
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:42 a.m.

    Thanks Doug. Great article!

  • mightymite , 00
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:38 a.m.

    Very timely article. The two flagship programs are expensive to run and are no longer a missionary facet. In many ways these two programs run counter to the mission and standards of the church. I am sure church leadership is weighing this closely as the cost and resources that go into these programs could serve the university and church in aspects that are better aligned with the mission of the church. Extracurricular activities could look very different in the very near future at BYU. Holmoe, Sitake and Rose may become the most infamous trio in BYU history if the direction I suspect is by leaders of the church.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:32 a.m.

    "Legal problems, political correctness, conference infighting and even the increased scrutiny wrought by social media have all had a profound impact on BYU athletics." -- DR

    LGBTQ rights are not about political correctness, it's human rights.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:24 a.m.

    "The Cougars can flare to life with the arrival of a rare super talent — as was the case with 2011 College Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette ."

    * He went 3-4 in the tournament, one sweet 16.

    * Utah is 3-2 in the tournament in the last 3 years, one sweet 16.

  • utahute69 Laguna Niguel, CA
    Nov. 22, 2017 12:24 a.m.

    For openers, so much of this article was about BYU's so called glorious past. Twenty years as a very good but not great football program doesn't make BYU a storied program. Next, BYU was totally in the dark when believing that BYU's status as an academic institution and athletic program was a big deal. Oh and that huge Mormon fan base didn't show either.

    The facts are now obvious. There are many great football programs that have academic standards way above BYU. Don't use that as an excuse. The idea to become an independent was a knee jerk response to Utah's selection to the PAC. BYU didn't need to leave the MWC to be considered by a P5 conference. But then, BYU played like it was a big deal when being considering by potential P5 conferences and made demands that were unrealistic. BYU's so called world wide fan base wasn't material in terms of revenue. BYU's attempt to play in a the P5 requires a decision about the Honor Code which appears to be more stringent than ever, or just being another university with a decent athletic program. BYU made some arrogant mistakes regarding BYU's national status and it is paying for it now.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    Nov. 21, 2017 11:32 p.m.

    "Athletic director Tom Holmoe, who declined to be interviewed for this story..."

    Of course not, why be held accountable for your bad decisions when you can just decline to be interviewed for the story. Independence is a millstone around BYU's neck. Is BSU football suffering in the MWC? How about Central Florida or Memphis or Navy in the AAC? Of course not, those programs are thriving. No P-5 conference is interested in expanding, so why does BYU keep running to the window to see if a P-5 car is in the driveway?