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Major Shake-Up In Utah Sports

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Wow, what a hectic year that was for Utah college sports. When the year ended in spring, the big three colleges (University of BYU, Utah and Utah State) were all in the same status quo. But as of this summer, U of U accepted the sought after offer to join the Pac 10 making them among the elite teams. They grabbed the opportunity and in so doing, had to leave the Mountain West Conference. The change left BYU as the only strong team remaining in MWC and it destroyed the long time rivalry between U and BYU. As the events unfold, BYU explored all the options they have and one of them is becoming independent. If they pursue that, there would only be 4 schools with that kind of status, the otherschools namely Notre Dame, Army and Navy.

The biggest advantage they will gain is the increased exposure they will have on national television. Meantime, the MWC seduced Nevada and Fresno state, two WAC teams that previously agreed to stay with WAC to jump ship and join MWC. This left WAC on shaky ground. Utah State, according to reports, was first approached by MWC and refused their offer based on an ethical stand-point. According to Scott Barnes, the athletic director, they agreed to stay with the designated conference and expect other teams to make the same decision. With or without a verbal contract, the two teams shifted and left WAC in a weak position and Utah State is even worse. If BYU decides to become independent, that will be great for the school’s football program. But what about the school’s other sporting programs? With whom will they affiliate with? A lot of questions have been raised with these changes and the answers will be revealed within the next few weeks.

Nancy Smith is part owner of RobbinsSports.com. It is an online retail store that specializes in the sale of basketball uniforms and portable scoreboards.