We briefly mentioned in our post last week about the potential for future SEC expansion that BYU could be very, very close to joining the Big East — perhaps as soon as early this week.
Well, it’s early this week, and there’s nothing yet. Then again, realignment tends to move at a completely arbitrary pace rather than the pace at which it’s being reported. But some of the same issues that prevented BYU from joining the Big 12 could be slowing things down between the school and the Big East.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that, while a deal between BYU and the Big East isn’t dead, the school’s TV deal with ESPN is one of a few “stumbling blocks” that is preventing a deal from being finalized. From the Tribune:
Apparently, BYU wants to retain its home television rights through its eight-year arrangement with ESPN that allows the broadcast sports giant to televise all but one BYU home football game per season with an estimated payout of between $1 million and $2 million per game. The deal with ESPN allows BYU’s own network, BYUtv, to broadcast the one game not picked up by ESPN and also allows the Cougars to show replays of all their ESPN broadcasts — home or away — on BYUtv.
The Big East does not want to hand over those rights to BYU, primarily because it wants the option of using them when it negotiates a new television contract next year and believes it could affect the value of that contract.
The article also cites BYU’s apparent concern about whether or not the Big East would be able to retain its BCS automatic qualifying status beyond 2013. The BCS could, however, vote to remove AQ status beyond that date when the
cartel BCS meets again to discuss membership.
But getting back to BYU’s TV deal, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that it’s holding up negotiations. The eight-year deal with ESPN and BYUtv has already proven to be a insurmountable hurdle for Big 12 membership; likewise, the Longhorn Network has kept Texas out of the Pac-12. That isn’t meant to compare the LHN to BYUtv — they’re not quite the same thing in terms of programming — but the institution-associated networks have nevertheless caused negotiation headaches on more than one occasion.
All of that could lead to the Big East choosing another member over BYU, the Tribune reports: San Diego State.
Not joking, folks; I wish I was.
But, with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, don’t expect any news on realignment until next week regardless of whomever it might involve.
UPDATED 7:41 p.m. ET: A source has told the Associated Press that talks have officially ended between the Big East and BYU, and that the Cougars will not be joining the conference. The source said that talks broke down after BYU said they wanted to retain the rights to its home football games.
Additionally, a source with knowledge of the situation has told CBS that “the Big East has moved on” from BYU, with another adding that San Diego State was now in the Big East picture.
Because, you know SDSU is totally an eastern school. Good grief, conference realignment sucks.