Posted on: October 15, 2011 5:14 pm

BYU admits discussions with Big 12, but no invite

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said Saturday the Cougars have had discussions with the Big 12, but have not turned down an invitation and have not been invited to join the Big 12.

“I think with all that’s happened in the last little while and now that you see TCU has joined the Big 12 replacing Texas A&M, it’s probably a good time to talk about things we haven’t before,” said Holmoe prior to Saturday’s game at Oregon State.

Holmoe said he’s made it a point to keep all past discussions with the Big 12 private. The Cougars are playing their first year as an independent after leaving the Mountain West Conference last season.

“That’s really how we want to do our business,” Holmoe said. “These are very important discussions. We want to make sure that they’re private and that they’re personal and that we do not put our business out in front of the nation.

“I do really appreciate that the Big 12 has kept to their word and that the discussions that we have been involved with have been very private and very confidential.”

BYU has been mentioned as a possible candidate to the Big 12. The league is still waiting for a decision whether Missouri will remain or join the SEC.

“Well I’m very excited about BYU football in the future and BYU athletics,” Holmoe said. “As you know we’ve made some pretty bold moves the last little while to go independent. But for me, I’m competitive. 

“People that know me, that know (football coach) Bronco Mendenhall, (basketball coach) Dave Rose and the rest of our coaches that we’re going to do everything that we can to stay as competitive as we can. I want to play at the highest level that we can. We’ve been doing a good job where we’ve been and we’re going to continue to look to do our very best.”

If the BCS conferences evolve into 16-team superconferences, Holmoe “wants to be at the table.”

“We’re always monitoring and listening to what’s going on out there,” Holmoe said. “So I think some people have thought that we haven’t been involved. We’ve very much been involved at a lot of different levels of communication with various conferences.”

Holmoe said he doesn’t believe the fact BYU won’t participate in athletic events on Sundays is an issue.

“I don’t think it’s real complicated for BYU, but I think everybody knows that BYU is not going to play on Sunday,” Holmoe said. “That’s one of the issues that I think everyone in the country knows where BYU stands.”

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Big 12, BYU, Missouri, SEC
Posted on: October 6, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 5:43 pm

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

When news broke Thursday that TCU was joining the Big 12 Conference instead of the Big East, it was just another domino in the latest craze sweeping across America: Conference realignment!

Another piece that might be teetering: Notre Dame.

For the Big East, losing TCU is another sucker punch to the groin or -- as Illinois’ Jonathan Brown prefers -- a knee to the groin.

Sure technically the Big East never really had TCU since the Horned Frogs weren’t officially joining the league until July 1, 2012, but the loss of what could have been is even more devastating for the Big East.

In the matter of weeks, the Big East has lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and now TCU to the Big 12. And if Missouri leaves for the SEC, sources have told CBSSports.com the Big 12 will likely add three more schools to get to 12 members. At the top of that list, sources said, is Louisville, along with a combination of BYU, West Virginia, Cincinnati or Tulane.

Losing Louisville and West Virginia or Cincinnati would likely be a fatal blow to the Big East's football BCS status. As damaging as these defections are to the Big East, it could have an even greater impact on the behemoth of college football.

Even before man invented fire, the Fighting Irish’s football program has been an independent. And Notre Dame plans on staying an independent until the galaxy explodes -- or until the Big East implodes -- whichever happens first.

So while the Big East’s pulse continues to weaken, Notre Dame could be forced to join a conference. The Fighting Irish have enjoyed the benefit of remaining a football independent, while their non-football sports competed in the Big East. Those days could be numbered.

"Certainly the factors that have contributed to the larger conference realignment continue to exist," Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told the Associated Press on Wednesday, a day before the news about TCU leaving to the Big 12. "And we’re doing the same thing we’ve done throughout, monitoring them closely, and hoping that the Big East stays a vibrant and successful partner for us."

But if there’s no Big East, then Notre Dame becomes the Holy Grail of college football. The Big 12, the Big Ten, the ACC and the SEC would add the Fighting Irish yesterday. Heck, even the Pac-12’s Larry Scott would find a way to bring the Irish on board if he could.

I’ve maintained that as long as Notre Dame has a conference home to put its non-football or Olympic sports (men’s basketball, women’s basketball, etc.) in it will never join a conference. But things are about to get interesting for Notre Dame.

If the Big East no longer exists, Notre Dame will have two options: Join the Big 12/Big Ten/ACC/SEC as a full member or stay independent in football and join one of those conferences with its non-football sports.

It will depend on how bad Notre Dame cherishes its football independence, because I’m sure one of those four conferences would prefer Notre Dame as a non-football member (and the guarantee of Notre Dame being on those future football schedules) to having Notre Dame in another league.

Before TCU and the Big 12’s announcement on Thursday, Swarbrick said Wednesday Notre Dame needed to continue to support the league.

"They’re [the Big East] working on additions," he said. "You got to wait until the whole picture is shaped to really have a feel for it, for what that option is like. Just continue to support them and be involved in their planning and hope they wind up in a great place.

"It's great to make plans. It’s whether the people you might be interested in or the circumstances will allow you to achieve those plans. But certainly the way the conference is thinking and what it’s trying to achieve are consistent with what I think it needs to do."

That was Swarbrick’s view Wednesday. That all changed Thursday with TCU headed to the Big 12 and there are likely more changes ahead. The question remains: will it be enough to force Notre Dame to give up its independence?

Posted on: August 13, 2011 5:16 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 11:57 am

BYU, Louisville say they're happy where they are

NOTE: This is an update from an earlier post on BYU and Louisville.

If - or when - the Big 12 starts seeking a replacement for Texas A&M, at least two possible candidates told CBSSports.com they are happy with their current situations.

BYU, which left the Mountain West last season to become an independent, plans to remain an independent, while Louisville is happy to remain in the Big East. That, of course, could change if either school receives an invitation to join the Big 12. Both schools have been speculated as possible targets of the Big 12 if Texas A&M leaves for the SEC.

"We have not been contacted by anybody," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. "We are very happy with our partnerships and relationships with ESPN, BYUtv and the West Coast Conference [in BYU's Olympic sports.]

"We like the plans we have made as an independent in football and with the West Coast Conference. We are moving forward fast on that path and getting ready for a big season."

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said the Cardinals are excited about the future of the Big East.

The league recently turned down a nine-year, $1.4 billion media rights deal from ESPN and is line for an even bigger deal in the next couple years from ESPN, NBC/Comcast or Fox.

"We are very happy where we are," Jurich said.

Neither Holmoe or Jurich would address any other conferences. I also asked Holmoe how committed BYU was to being an independent. "Just focusing in on what could be an exciting year for Cougar football," he said.

One official at a BCS conference, that could be affected by Texas A&M's move to the SEC and the resulting dominos, said Saturday he had not heard of any new developments.

"The only news is whatever your colleagues make up," he said jokingly.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: July 29, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 7:31 pm

JoePa on no NCAA violations: "Maybe we're lucky"

CHICAGO – Earlier this month, CBSSports.com did a five-part series on cheating in college football. Among our findings was that Penn State and BYU are the only two schools that have won Associated Press national championships without receiving a major infraction in the history of either football program.

The secret to Penn State’s success?

“Oh boy,” Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. “Maybe we’re lucky.

“What the good Lord said: ‘don’t be the first one to cast the rock.’ I preach all the time. I tell our alumni all the time. Stay out of it. We try to keep them informed as to what they can do legally, what they can’t do legally.”

Paterno said he uses the philosophy that he learned from former Penn State coach Rip Engle – yes, there was another head coach at Penn State besides Paterno.

“He used to say when I’d come back all upset, maybe I was trying to recruit some hot shot, and lost him,” Paterno said. “He would say, ‘Hey Joe don’t worry about the guys we lose. Only make sure who you bring in here belongs here and they’re coming here for the right reasons.’

“That’s probably something that I preach all the time to the staff.”

Paterno said it’s “nice to know we haven’t had a major violation. I’m proud of that. I’m not going around gloating about it.”

Paterno also said the way student-athletes are dealt with has changed drastically throughout the years.

“The old days when I first started to coach, I lived four blocks off the campus,” Paterno said. “I used to get a telephone call from one of the campus cops. He would say ‘Hey coach, you better come up here and get a hold of Mike. Too much to drink, making a lot of noise.’ ”

Paterno said he’d get up at 2 a.m. to go get the player and then have the player up at 5 a.m. to “run his rear end off for a week. But you guys [the media] never heard about it.”

“Every once in a while I hear one of these guys that I know a little bit about when they were 19 and 20,” Paterno said. “I’m talking about all the kids today, they ought to go back and read Socrates. Socrates 400 years B.C. said ‘The kids today are terrible tyrants. They don’t pay attention.’  That’s 2,500 years ago, OK?

“Anyway, I’m shooting my mouth off too much.”

Posted on: July 21, 2011 5:06 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:37 pm

Dooley says inequality in football 'fun'

HOOVER, Ala. – Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was asked Thursday about SEC commissioner Mike Slive’s proposal to provide multi-year scholarships and the possibility of a conference-wide discipline policy.

But when Dooley was finished answering the question, he gave some insight into the inequality between the automatic qualifying BCS schools and non-BSC schools.

And Dooley shed some light into the difference between the BCS and non-BCS schools and why a lot of folks, including BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, believe there will be a split within the FBS ranks.

“It goes back to what you believe philosophically,” Dooley said. “Are we going to allow the institutions and programs to set their rules, then allow the market to handle which way they go and the success they have or are we going to take over and define what everybody does all the time?

“I think it’s absurd to have across-the-board disciplinary measures when you’re talking about dealing with young people.”

Dooley wasn’t finished.

“Otherwise what we need to do is get off the campuses and form us a little college league like the NFL if we’re going to go in that direction,” Dooley said. “Then it’s one group. We represent the college football league, not the school. We’re all the same. We all wear the same sideline gear except the color of everything. It’s all uniform.

“That’s what makes college unique. We got programs that have $100 million competing with programs that have $10 million. That’s not level. That’s just the way it is. I think that’s a unique thing, fun. Makes great fodder for the fans, brings pride to the institution because of their uniqueness.

“I don’t think that’s something we should be ashamed of.”

Posted on: July 12, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 7:08 pm

Mendenhall receives 3-year extension

PROVO, Utah - BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall will lead the Cougars into the unchartered waters of being an independent and he'll do so with a new contract. Mendendall said Tuesday that he signed a three-year extension through the 2013 season.

"I am absolutely satisfied with my job here and I have been treated more than fairly," Mendenhall said. "I am very realistic. There is a lot on the line going independent, so I want to ensure that I am worthy of my position. I want to give everything I have and lead the charge through independence."

Mendenhall is 56-21 in six seasons with the Cougars and has taken BYU to six consecutive bowl games. His 72.7 winning percentage is tied for seventh among the active FBS coaches with at least five years experience, trailing Boise State's Chris Petersen (92.4 percent), Oklahoma's Bob Stoops (80.6), TCU's Gary Patterson (77.8), Penn State's Joe Paterno (74.8), Utah's Kyle Whittingham (74.0) and Georgia's Mark Richt (73.9). Arkansas' Bobby Petrino is tied with Mendenhall for seventh.

Mendenhall, who took over the defensive coordinator duties midway through last season, also said he will again be BYU's defensive coordinator this season.

"Bronco is an incredible leader and one of hte best coaches in the country," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. "He is committed to the program and we are committed to him as the leader of our football team. Bronco is loyal to this team and the university and does things the right way, on and off the field. We are excited for the future as we begin our journey as an independent."

Posted on: July 12, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 5:58 pm

BYU doesn't deserve automatic BCS access - yet

PROVO, Utah - Since BYU joined the indepedent ranks, should the Cougars now receive automatic access to a BCS bowl like Notre Dame?

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe says not yet.

“I don’t think we deserve the same access as Notre Dame,” Holmoe said. “I don’t. I just have an incredible amount of respect for Notre Dame. What they have accomplished over decades and decades. I’m not talking 20-30 years, I’m talking about 100.

“The BCS folks brought them in at even keel and I agree with that. They belong. It’s their responsibility once they’re there to continue to be good.”

Leaving the Mountain West should give the Cougars a better shot at reaching a BCS bowl, though, Holmoe said.

“You have to start winning games,” Holmoe said. “TCU, Boise State and Utah – as hard as it is for me to say that – they’ve earned respect of the nation by going to BCS games and winning. I think if we play well – we’re going to have a better schedule now than in the Mountain West – if we can be undefeated with our schedule, we’ll be in a BCS game.”

The Cougars are one of only seven Football Bowl Subdivision programs to win 10 or more games in at least four of the past five seasons. But that won’t mean anything from here on out: especially with future schedules featuring games against Texas, Ole Miss, Utah, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and West Virginia.

“If we win, we’ll get noticed and we’ll earn people’s respect and people will take notice,” Holmoe said. “I think we belong in a BCS conference, but I’m not going to kick anybody out and we haven't been invited. There’s reasons we haven’t been invited.”

Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 11:36 am

BYU never approached by Big East

PROVO, Utah - Ever since schools began changing conferences, there have been a number of different scenarios floated around concerning what conferences schools might end up in. A couple of months ago, a BYU fan website reported that the Cougars had been approached by the Big East to gauge their interest in joining the Big East.

There was only one problem - it wasn't true.

"We've never been approached or talked with the Big East about membership in their league," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe told CBSSports.com. "We never had an offer from the Big East.

"We haven't been invited to a BCS conference."

Two months ago, a BYU fan website - Deep Shades of Blue - reported that "the conference did indeed contact BYU about becoming a football-only member, but that the proposal was turned down by the BYU administration."

Holmoe and various Big East officials disputed that report.

BYU left the Mountain West to become an independent. I asked Holmoe would the school have been interested in a move to the Big East? 

"At the time, you never know, but it’s probably too far," Holmoe said. "A lot of things come into play with that, including missed school time. It didn’t happen, so it’s all speculative."

Category: NCAAF
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com