The Big East has decided "to move on" and is no longer pursuing BYU as a conference member, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday morning, sources previously had told CBSSports.com that unless BYU decided to relinquish its television rights for its home football games, the Cougars would not join the Big East. The Cougars would not do so.
"The Big East has moved on," a source said about the prospect of adding BYU.
The Cougars had been in discussions with the Big East for weeks about joining the league. In the earlier negotiations between BYU and the Big East, BYU did not have an issue with relinquishing its home television rights. That changed, however.
"They (BYU) are being extremely unreasonable all of a sudden," a source said Tuesday morning. "This is one reason why they did not get into the Big 12. Their general counsel (lawyers) is a piece of work.”With BYU out of the picture, the Big East will target San Diego State as a football-only member, a source said. The reason the Big East would seek out the Aztecs is because Boise State wants a Western partner before joining the league.
The Big East had hoped to announce its newest members (SMU, Houston, UCF and Boise State) in the past two weeks, but the on-going discussions with BYU brought the Big East’s expansion plans to a standstill. That’s because the league wanted to announce SMU, UCF, Houston and Boise State as new members together along with either BYU or Air Force or both schools.
Air Force does not plan to make a decision until after the regular season ends on Saturday, a source said.
Navy also is waiting for the other schools to join before fully committing to the league.“It’s like everyone standing by the pool, waiting for someone to jump in before everyone else jumps in,” a source said.
On Oct. 25, CBSSports.com first reported that the Western contingent of possible future Big East members was making a push to add BYU.
Two weeks ago, a source told CBSSports.com San Diego State was pursuing a football-only membership with the Big East. San Diego State had previously pursued membership in the Big 12.
Houston, SMU, UCF and Boise State are committed to joining the Big East. Navy also has told those four schools, who CBSSports.com reported were working in concert to join the league, it also is committed to the Big East. With those five schools, the league will still need two more football schools to get to a 12-team league. Those possibilities now are San Diego State and Air Force with the 12-team league split in a West and East division.BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and coach Bronco Mendenhall were said to favor a move to the Big East, but BYU President Cecil Samuelson and the school’s general counsel weren't as receptive. That was unless the Cougars could have retained their home television rights, which is unheard of for a conference school.
If the Big East gave up the television rights to BYU’s home games, it would have reduced the amount the Big East could seek in its upcoming negotiations for its new media rights deal with either ESPN, NBC-Comcast and/or Fox.
There are no schools in any of the BCS AQ conferences that retain their home television rights, only those schools that are independents. BYU is in its first year as an independent after leaving the Mountain West and last year signed an eight-year deal with ESPN, which would have to be reworked if the Cougars joined the Big East.