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BYU To Go Independent In Football, Join WAC In Other Sports

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, it’s done: BYU will join the WAC in all sports but football, and let the football program play as an independent. Beginning in 2011 the Cougars will leave the Mountain West and play an independent football schedule, but with the concessionary wrinkle that they will play four games with WAC teams on their schedule.

The move to independence means more freedom for BYU in terms of scheduling, but more importantly allows them to improve on the relatively small sum of money they received from the Mountain West’s custom network: $2 million in total for 2009, a sum BYU could easily make up and surpass in independent deals.

As for the implications for the Mountain West? Just a major member with national brand recognition leaving the fold and potentially opening the door for new recruit Boise State to leave the conference before they ever start in the league, as cannily noted in the Trib article.