After weeks of discussion with Big East Commissioner John Marinatto about joining the conference, Brigham Young University has decided it won't be part of the Big East's expansion, according to reports.
The Big East was trying to add BYU as part of its plan to expand westward, thus hoping to create a West division alongside an East division and become a 12-team football league with six teams in each division. Syracuse and Pittsburgh's decision in September to move to the Atlantic Coast Conference and West Virginia's move to the Big 12 last month left the Big East with only five football members.
Negotiations between the Big East and BYU broke off, a source familiar with the talks told the Associated Press, because of television rights. The source, who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the conference and school have not been making their talks public, said BYU wanted to retain the rights to its home games. The Big East could not agree to that, noting that no other school in a major conference has its own television rights.
BYU to the Big East is dead, the source said. It's not going to happen.
Reports last week said BYU was all set to join the Big East, mainly because as a member, it would gain automatic-qualifying status. And that's just one of the lures the Big East has been using for BYU and other potential members, besides getting more television revenue and greater television exposure.
But BYU's desire to retain the TV rights to its home games did not come up until late in the discussions, the source said, and thus negotiations with the conference fell through the cracks in the last 48 hours.
The Big East, however, is still courting Boise State, Air Force and Navy to join as football-only members, and Conference USA schools Southern Methodist, Houston and Central Florida to join in all sports.
The Big 12 had courted BYU earlier this year when it was looking to replace Texas A&M and later Missouri, which both move to the Southeastern Conference next year, but working out a television agreement prevented a deal.
The Big East has run into the same problem, and now that BYU isn't on the radar anymore, it will have to find other suitable candidates.
According to reports, Temple, a Mid-American Conference team and once a Big East member, has been trying to get back in. East Carolina, another C-USA school, publicly announced it had applied for membership in September, and C-USA rival Memphis has also been pushed to join, including by some in the Big East, most notably Louisville coach Rick Pitino, because of its excellent basketball program.
CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that San Diego State of the Mountain West Conference is the Big East's next target, not only for the Big East as a whole, but also for the soon-to-be Big East western division.