If BYU wants to join a power conference, they need to call the Big 12 Conference immediately.
After the Pac-12 Conference announced they will not be expanding this season, it is highly likely the Big 12 Conference will survive with the remaining eight members standing intact. Yes, West Virginia might still want to move to the ACC. Kansas and Iowa State could still go to the Big Ten. With the recent alliance created between the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC, it seems unlikely those schools will receive invites. Not only that, but do any of them really want to pay the hefty exit fee? The best option for all eight schools right now is to stick together, force Texas and Oklahoma to either remain or pay up, and focus on the future.
The great news about BYU is, they are already a member of the West Coast Conference in all sports except football. This provides the Big 12 Conference options. If the eight remaining schools don’t want to fly their Olympic sports teams over the Rocky Mountains every year, they don’t have to. The Big 12 can invite BYU for football only.
Furthermore, if the Big 12 wants an even number of teams, they have options with that as well. Hawai’i is an oddity. They only remain associated with the Mountain West Conference for football. All other sports are members of the Big West Conference. This provides a selling point to recruits: “How would you like a paid for trip to Hawai’i every two years?” Of course, West Virginia to Hawaii makes this wildly unrealistic, but never discount the out-of-the-box thinking in college athletics. Another option worth looking at is UConn. I understand this is unpopular and UConn did just join the Big East last year, but it is an option. At the very least, it gives West Virginia a closer opponent. Not to mention, they already have a third party media rights deal with SNY.
What if the Big 12 Conference doesn’t want to do football only? Again, the Big 12 Conference has options if BYU calls. If the Big 12 schools do not want an associate member for football, they can still invite BYU. They can also poach from the Mountain West Conference. About a month ago, I wrote that the Big 12 Conference should give Colorado an ultimatum. They can either return to the Big 12 Conference or the Big 12 will invite Colorado State. If the Big 12 wants to upset the apple cart, they can go ahead and give Colorado the ultimatum. The Pac-12 is not going to like it, especially with a new commissioner. It’s uncertain how the new alliance will perceive the power move. On the other hand, the Big 12 Conference can bypass the ultimatum and simply invite Colorado State to the conference. This would place the new Pac-12 Commissioner in a predicament where Utah and Colorado just lost a little bit of luster. They now must compete for the best recruits against in-state rivals.
It’s good to have options. The Big 12 Conference has options. If BYU wants to join a power conference, they do not have options. They must call the Big 12 Conference immediately and convince the powers that be to let them join the conference.