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Peavler: Busting college football conference realignment myths surrounding BYU (9 items)

By , Deseret News

June 11, 2014

As college football fans wait for the beginning of the 2014 season, there's one thing that's kept many BYU fans captivated over the long offseason: Conference realignment rumors.

There are a lot of myths that have been floating around Twitter and on message boards all over the Internet. Some are true, but most are absolute junk. A lot of people have claimed some interesting things without anything at all to back them up.

We're going to bust some of those myths using documented quotes from named, credible sources at BYU and around other conferences. No unnamed sources from West Virginia need apply.

Here's some of the most prevalent rumors surrounding BYU and conference realignment:

Lafe Peavler is a staff sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.

1 of 9. BYU wants to join the Big 12

This one is obvious now, but there was a time where some BYU fans claimed that members of the BYU administration and board of directors wanted BYU to stay independent no matter what conference came knocking.

Bronco Mendenhall's comments to the Austin American-Statesman showed that yes, BYU wants in the Big 12.

“We would love to be in the Big 12,” Mendenhall said. “I would love to be a member of that conference. I think that would make a lot of sense. In fact, if that was your headline, that would be great.”

This was clearly a carefully orchestrated move on Mendenhall's part, and there's no doubt BYU administration is behind what Mendenhall said or he wouldn't have said it. Case closed.

Myth confirmed

2 of 9. BYU had an invitation from the Big 12 in 2010 or 2011 but turned it down

This is a popular myth that's circulated on BYU message boards for years now. The narrative runs that the Cougars were given a coveted invitation to the Big 12 back when Texas A&M and Missouri left that conference for the SEC. BYU supposedly turned down the offer over BYUtv rights. That's why the Big 12 invited TCU and West Virginia instead.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe took to Twitter to debunk this myth.

A BYU fan using the Twitter handle @jmgcougman tweeted this at Holmoe in May of this year: "Latest Big 12 rumor: Y snubbed in '10 & '11 due to demands that get occasional 2nd Tier rights & multiple game guarantee. ."

Holmoe responded: " Not true at all. Quit spreading rumors!"

That statement should kill that rumor once and for all. It didn't happen.

Myth busted

3 of 9. BYU has been in talks with the Big 12 this year

This is a myth that circulated on Twitter for much of the spring and early summer, perpetuated by a West Virginia fan using the handle @MHver3. This person claimed to have knowledge of secret Big 12 expansion meetings where a representative of BYU was present.

Well, West Virginia's own athletic director busted this one.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy talked to both West Virginia's Oliver Luck and Kansas State athletic director John Currie about BYU: "Expansion is one thing we're not talking about," Luck told McMurphy.

Let this be a lesson to anyone about Twitter rumors: If a person on Twitter posts things without using his name and his/her information depends on unnamed sources, ignore it.

Myth busted

4 of 9. The Big 12 is going to expand in the near future

McMurphy's chat with Luck and Currie also busts this myth. The Big 12 isn't talking about expansion right now, and it isn't going to start talking about it until after the NCAA makes some important decisions.

First, the ACC has submitted legislation to the NCAA that would remove rules requiring conferences to have 12 teams in order to have a conference championship game. This affects the Big 12 as it has only 10 members.

While there's no indication that the Big 12 would add a conference championship game with just 10 members, this decision will certainly factor in to any decision to expand or not. There's less incentive for the conference to add teams if it can have a conference championship game while standing pat.

The NCAA will take up this issue this August.

Also, there's the bigger proposal of giving autonomy to the so-called "Power 5" conferences.

The Big 12 isn't going to make any sort of move until these issues are settled, and why should it? While it's certainly possible that the Big 12 will expand at some point, Big 12 expansion isn't as imminent as some have claimed.

Myth busted

5 of 9. BYU will rejoin the Mountain West at some point

This has been a popular one recently. SI.com's Stewart Mandel added fuel to this rumor responding to a question from a BYU fan in a mailbag article. In short, Mandel points out that BYU doesn't have the same kind of access as an independent that the MWC champ does to a big-time bowl. He also refers to recent scheduling rules from the the ACC and SEC that don't count BYU as a "Power 5" opponent.

While Mandel doesn't outright say it, his words imply that BYU would be better off in the MWC. He's hardly alone as many others from both inside and outside of the BYU fan base have expressed the same thought.

Well, there's no better person outside of the BYU administration to address this rumor than the Voice of the Cougars himself: KSL's Greg Wrubell.

Here's two key tweets from Wrubell on this very subject. First: "Certain observers are missing the mark on two particular points, re: BYU football. 1) Scheduling is not the issue. 2) MWC is not an option."

And the second: "Those arguing for MWC return require more insight re: BYU history, current assets and future intentions. There's no going back."

Short of getting a statement straight from BYU's athletic director, this is as definitive as it gets.

Myth busted

1. 311ute
Reno, NV,
June 11, 2014

I must admit that I am impressed with this article. The truth is that nobody knows what is in BYU"s future, that's what makes the situation so intriguing, even to us Ute fans.

I think it would be great for the Y to get into the Big XII but I just don't see it happening. It would love to have the Utah/BYU rivalry back while playing in two separate P5 conferences (see GA and GTech, and USC and Clemson).

Enjoy the roller coaster ride that is independence!

2. PAC12Fan
South Jordan, UT,
June 11, 2014

Most of the rumors sound like they came from overzealous BYU fans. There is a short article on ESPN about realignment into the BIG 12. The commissioner is happy where they are right now and aren't looking to add any more teams.

If BYU can't get into the Big 12, they are better staying put. Something will happen over the next few years as BYU does bring a lot to the table. It sounds like BYU simply needs to stay put and schedule whoever they can for the next 3-10 years.

3. Kaladin
Northern, CO,
June 11, 2014

U fans with blinders on will disagree with all of these, even though every one of them is absolutely true. BYU will end up in the upper echelon of teams when the dust settles.

4. truthsandwich
RANDOLPH, UT,
June 11, 2014

Actually a pretty good article, though number 9 was hardly myth-busted. Anything could happen.

I am one Utah fan who has been hoping for BYU to join the Big 12, as I think it would be great for football in this state.

It doesn't seem that will be happening any time soon though, judging by the Big 12 giving BYU a Big slap in the face today.

5. DPTCougar
Eagle Mountain, UT,
June 11, 2014

Let's face it, BYU needs to win their games. Why did Utah get invited into the PAC? Well besides the fact that they got chosen because Texas didn't want it, they won. 2 undefeated seasons with BCS bowl wins got them invited. It wasn't because they sell tickets or because they're a "research institution", it was because they won. Do I like BYU independent? No. But until they prove by winning that they belong, then they don't belong.