So far it's only anonymously sourced, but there are multiple rumors and reports that BYU is considering leaving the Mountain West to become an independent.
BYU would be prompted to leave the 11-year-old league after Utah bolted to the Pac-10 this summer. BYU may feel that the conference will ultimately be diminished financially and competitively without Utah. With a worldwide following, BYU could keep all its revenue becoming a mini-Notre Dame: Playing football independently and putting its other sports in the WAC.
BYU pulling out would severely damage the Mountain West which thought this summer it hard shored up its BCS chances by grabbing Boise State (beginning in 2011). With Utah leaving for the Pac-10, the Mountain West would be down to eight teams. BYU was not invited to the Pac-10 because it made little sense for the league to get two teams from the Salt Lake City market. Also, there were academic concerns about BYU compared to other Pac-10 institutions. It is neither a member of the elite Association of American Universities nor a highly rated Carnegie research institution. Seven of the 10 current Pac-10 members are both. The other three are either one or the other. Utah, for example, is rated by Carnegie.
The MWC is hoping for automatic BCS qualifier status in 2012 and 2013. The Mountain West is currently being evaluated (along with all other I-A leagues) on a four-year rotating basis. The BCS is halfway through that evaluation process.
Without talking about BYU specifically, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told CBSSports.com this week that it is still possible and advantageous for a school going independent.
"You've got to solve the non-football side of the equation," Swarbrick said, "but it can work. I don't know if there will be others but it wouldn't shock me because the landscape is so fluid."
Swarbrick added he had not spoken to any particular school about it becoming an independent. There are currently only three independents in Division I-A -- Notre Dame, Army and Navy.
This is what BYU AD Tom Holmoe told the Salt Lake City Tribune in July:
"Independence is an option that obviously has been out there. We will look at everything. We have looked at everything. There are pros and cons to the Pac-10, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Mountain West Conference and independence. With all these things there are pros and cons.
"So what you have to do is you have to weigh those and measure them against what? What is right for BYU. And not for what is right for BYU in the year 2010, but what is right for BYU into the future.
"That is quite a bit more complex than most people understand. You have got a constituency to deal with. You have got a school to deal with. "
Some outlets are citing a tweet, reportedly coming from Colorado State, that the move will be announced at a Thursday press conference. The school was in the process Wednesday morning releasing a statement denying the tweet had come from Colorado State. A school spokesman said someone had hacked into the school account that could be accessed by only three persons from Colorado State.