Brigham Young had plenty of co-conspirators in its planned move out of the Mountain West Conference. Utah State for one. ESPN for another.
Yes, that's right. The four-letter network was involved from the beginning.
Documents and email correspondence obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune through an open records request detailed how the Cougars planned to declare their independence in football and join the Western Athletic Conference in all other sports.
Utah State president Stan Albrecht, who has been criticized for not accepting an offer to move the Aggies from the WAC to the Mountain West after news of BYU's planned move began to trickle out, had incentive to stay the course. He had masterminded with WAC commissioner Karl Benson, BYU president Cecil Samuelson, Fresno State president John Welty, Nevada president Milt Glick and ESPN to spring the Cougars.
Reaction from a crazy day that saw Brigham Young on the verge of becoming an independent in football and Fresno State and Nevada announcing that they would be leaving the Western Athletic Conference in order to join the Mountain West. The situation remains fluid. Follow The Wiz on Twitter to get the latest developments.
Jeff Call, Deseret News: As of late Wednesday, BYU was still a member of the Mountain West. "We are aware of the many media reports and questions circulating about BYU's conference alignment," associate athletic director Duff Tittle said in a statement. "As director of athletics Tom Holmoe explained recently, BYU has been reviewing, and will continue to explore, every option to advance its athletic program. At this point, BYU has no further comment."
Dan Rasmussen, Deseret News: BYU fans are supportive of the Cougars' move to independence. "I think it's a great idea," said Ron Allen, 65, of Salt Lake City. "It'll allow us to play some top teams in the nation." He was one of many fans to use two words: "Notre" and "Dame."
Brad Rock, Deseret News: BYU's future was crystal clear for about six
hours. Then Fresno State and Nevada decided they
didn't like the plan.
KITV: Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan said the school will look into
becoming an independent in football if the WAC should crumble. Link to video.
Dan Hinxman, Reno Gazette-Journal: Nevada did
not sign the WAC's $5 million buyout clause that would have made it
prohibitive to consider a move to the Mountain West, multiple sources
with knowledge of the situation have told the newspaper.
Jim Rayburn, Deseret News: Being an independent in football presents many challenges. Just ask Notre Dame, Army and Navy.
The Wolf Pack lost its first three and last two games in 2009. In between was an eight-game winning streak, which earned the team a berth to the Hawaii Bowl. But you're only as good as your last game, and Nevada was downright horrible in Honolulu, getting smacked by Southern Methodist, 45-10. Wolf Pack fans were not pleased, and Chris Ault, the creator of the Pistol offense, finds himself on the hot seat in 2010. Thanks to Aaron!
As a run up to the start of the season, the Wiz will display one poster each day until our supply is exhausted. Last year, the site displayed 69 posters.
Then we turn it over to readers, who will vote on the poster of the year. In the meantime, send your team's poster schedule to jayzuma (at) gmail.com.
Hawaii had issued poster schedules for over 30 years, but that practice came to an end this season.
While the economy factored in the decision, the Internet is also to blame. The athletic department will save $30,000 by not issuing posters for its teams. Instead, Hawaii will produce desktop wallpapers like the one displayed above that feature team schedules.
A Nevada official also told us that its athletic department had stopped issuing posters.