The BYU Cougars were expected to join the Big East Conference as recently as last week. Now, Brett McMurphy is reporting that it is "unlikely" BYU will still join due to a disagreement over television rights.
Unless BYU decides to relinquish its television rights for its home football games, the Cougars likely will not join the Big East, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
"I doubt BYU will happen," a college football industry source told CBSSports.com. "They are being extremely unreasonable all of a sudden. This is one reason why they did not get into the Big 12. Their general counsel (lawyers) is a piece of work."
It is unheard of for a school to retain ownership of their home television rights when joining another conference and no schools in any of the BCS AQ conferences currently do so. BYU is in its first year as an independent after leaving the Mountain West and signed an eight-year deal with ESPN last year. That deal would have to be reworked.
According to McMurphy, all of the Big East's expansion plans are on hold until this matter is settled, one way or another. Boise State will not join the conference unless they have a Western partner. Air Force has been said to be considering remaining where they are and Navy is waiting to see how things unfold.
San Diego State is rumored to be a possibility as well. Which, in a way, would complete the insane redistricting of a conference with the word "East" in its title perfectly.
For more on the Cougars, visit BYU blog Vanquish the Foe. For more on the Big East, head to Big East Coast Bias. For more on the conference expansion whirlwind, check out our conference realigment coverage.