FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 10: Texas Christian University sophomore Zach Boring (L), and freshman Laura Dunn raise a Big XII Conference banner before a press conference in which TCU accepted an invention to join the Big XII on October 10, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
Dick Harmon, beat writer for the Deseret News and all-around BYU guru, was on this Saturday's version of the KSL radio program Cougar Sports Saturday. During the interview, Harmon gave his thoughts on the recent rumors of BYU and Louisville being poised for Big 12 membership. Harmon opined that he felt the overall atmosphere of the college sports world was much more conducive to BYU receiving and accepting an invitation.
During the late summer and early fall, ConferenceExpans-a-palooza was in top gear. Texas A&M, Missouri, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, TCU, West Virginia, and Boise State, just to name a few, were riding the expansion tsunami to new homes. Decisions were seemingly made overnight, consequences be damned. (West Virginia/Big East civil litigation as the embodiment of this hectic time frame) The waters of college athletics are much calmer at the present date. The Big 12's future is assured. And as such, the release of The Chronicle of Higher Education report of a possible Big 12 expansion timeline caused quite a ripple. Harmon mentioned that this report is an important stepping stone to a future decision by those Chancellors, AD's, and others in the upper echelon of these institutions.
Harmon was of the opinion that there were no issues which BYU and the Big 12 would be unable to work out. On Twitter earlier in the week, when asked his opinion on the end-game of these discussions, Harmon pointed to a story he had written on the subject in mid-October, a piece in which he predicts that BYU's Big 12 affiliation is a question of 'when' not 'if.' During the radio interview, Harmon said that talks between the two entities had 'matured' over time and that concerns were to be overcome. Whether those concerns were Sunday play (which has never been an issue), TV rights (which ESPN has shown a willingness to renegotiate third-tier rights for such networks as BYUtv and Longhorn Network), or BYU's desire to keep a good rapport with members of the West Coast Conference, all of the preceding issues and more were not deal-breaking.
A source close to Vanquish The Foe has stated that BYU's end desire is to be a member of a BCS Conference before Bronco Mendenhall's tenure expires in Provo. Officials are worried that the coach who replaces Mr. Mendenhall would not be as gung-ho about the idea of independence, not to mention the ever-changing landscape of college football, with the rift widening between the have's and the have not's. That being said, BYU is willing to be patient and none of the negotiations with the Big 12 have progressed more than a few conversations here and there. He also shared Harmon's "When Not If" feelings on the subject as a whole.
Listen to Mr. Harmon's interview here: KSL's Cougar Sports Saturday Big 12 segment begins at the 16:49 mark