After shunning the Big East the first time they came calling a report has surfaced that BYU could join the conference in 2015 when it is expected to grow to 14 members. The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that either BYU or Air Force will come aboard along with Navy who has already committed to be a football only member.
Teams will play eight-game league schedules once the conference expands from eight teams to 12 in 2013. The conference is expected to grow to 14 teams in 2015. That’s when Navy joins for football only. Brigham Young or Air Force is expected to join Navy, according to multiple sources at the spring meetings.
The report states the conference could be separated into East-West divisions. As of now however only Boise State and San Diego State are the only schools west of the Mississippi.
I find it hard to believe this will be the case unless the new BCS playoff system is set up in a way that the Big East champion can gain access which would be an obvious plus for BYU who currently has to be perfect to get into one of the big bowls. I doubt though that will be the case. In addition the Big East would once again have to make concessions for BYU’s current television contract with ESPN and ability to utilize BYUtv to show one football game a year along with replay broadcasts. That was something the Big East was unwilling to compromise on the first time around. While this report states a new Big East television deal could fetch upwards of $6.4 million per school per year (which could be more than BYU is making on its current deal in which terms have been kept relatively private) money isn’t entirely the driving force for the Cougars. Exposure seems to be more important to them. The only other scenario I see is if ESPN strongly encourages BYU to join the league just to make it more solvent of an investment for the Worldwide Leader.
The only positive for BYU to become a member is it would get them in a league again giving them something to play for–particularly late in the season where it’s clear independent status keeps them from scheduling quality teams. Whatever happens, as we’ve seen already during this realignment process, anything regarding BYU joining a league is far from cut and dry.