As if the summer hadn’t yet seen enough expansion excitement, with Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, and Boise State already changing the college landscape, the frenzy was renewed again today amid developing rumors that BYU will soon announce at least its football independence.
The Salt Lake Tribune confirmed via a source in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) that BYU was seeking membership in that conference for its non-football sports. Reports also indicated that BYU is withholding its decision until it hears from the NCAA regarding Notre Dame-like special access to the BCS, as well as permission from leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which has the ultimate decision making power regarding BYU.
Seemingly in response to the Cougars’ impending bolt from the MWC, league commissioner Craig Thompson invited the Nevada Wolfpack and the Fresno St. Bulldogs to join. Both teams accepted by late this evening, but when Mr. Thompson took questions at the press conference, the majority were regarding the future of BYU, a subject that Mr. Thompson was reluctant to discuss, recommending that those questions be directed to BYU. Again and again he stressed that the actions of today had nothing to do with the rumors surrounding BYU, and that the invitation of Nevada and Fresno St. had been a long time coming. Surely this was in a contingency plan somewhere, but to imagine that August 18th was circled on the MWC calendar as the day this would all go down? Not likely.
So here we are. The MWC has lost Utah, and added Boise St, Fresno St, and Nevada. BYU may go independent. The WAC is down to 6 teams; only one of which had a winning record last year. All we know for sure is that whether BYU ultimately decides to stay or go, more dominoes will be falling in the next few days, and we’ll all be waiting anxiously to hear the word from Provo and from around the country as the expansion frenzy is renewed.