Major Shake-Up In Utah Sports
Posted by Nancy on August 23, 2010
Wow, what a year that has turned out to be for college sports within the state of Utah. When the school year winded down last spring, things were pretty much status quo for the big three colleges in the state (University of Utah, BYU and Utah State). Not so anymore. As of earlier this summer, the U. of U. accepted a coveted offer to join the elite Pac 10. Naturally, they jumped at the chance and in doing so had to jump ship with the Mountain West Conference. That change left BYU as the only“big gun” left in the MWC and dissipated the long-standing rivalry between BYU and the U. With events unfolding as they were, it seemed a good time to explore one of the options that were in BYU’s court, namely going independent. If they did so, they would be one of only four schools in the country with that status, the others being Army, Navy, and Notre Dame. The most obvious advantage would be the increased exposure they would gain from airing more games on television. Meanwhile, the MWC lured two of the WAC teams (Fresno State and Nevada) that had previously agreed to staying with the WAC to join the MWC, leaving the WAC on pretty shaky ground. Utah State, the school that was reportedly first approached by the MWC, rejected the offer from an ethical stand-point. They had, according to athletic director, Scott Barnes, agreed to stick with their designated conference and expected the other teams to do likewise. That didn’t happen. Verbal contract or not, the two other teams bolted, leaving the WAC in a very weakened condition and Utah State in an even weaker one. Now, it remains to be seen how all of this is going to shake down. Will BYU announce their plans to become independent and if so, that might be great for their football program but what about all of the other sporting programs sponsored by the school? Who will they align with? There are a lot of questions to be answered and presumably they will need to be answered within the next couple of weeks.