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BYU notifies Big 12 of expansion interest and is open to football-only invite, ESPN reports

BYU officially asks the Big 12 to prom.

BYU Announces Independence in Football 2011 Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

BYU is officially in the Big 12 expansion game.

Given BYU’s previous statement about the Big 12’s decision to take applications for membership — “We are obviously excited” — it’s not a surprise, but athletic director Tom Holmoe told ESPN the school has officially notified the Big 12 it wants in, according to a new report from the network’s Jake Trotter.

The key takeaway is Holmoe’s admission that BYU would discuss a football-only invitation with the conference though full membership is BYU’s ultimate goal.

"We're obviously open to listening to what they want to do," Holmoe told ESPN. "We're going to go through this process with an open mind to listen to what they have to say."

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That, too, is no surprise. The Big 12 as a hoops league is pretty strong and it would be awesome for the Cougars to play in it, as well as the other sports across campus. But football doesn’t just drive the bus because of an arbitrary popularity contest. It’s the cash cow for almost every school with a football program because of available TV money.

If the cards don’t hold a full membership invite for BYU, the amount of money a football-only move would bring in would still lift all the programs on campus. That’s why, as disappointing as football-only might be to hoops heads, Holmoe would still say it’s in play.

The hoops team could make do with the WCC. There are certainly worse places to be than a perennial two-bid conference with a clear shot at three bids if the year is right.

Holmoe also told Trotter BYU would take a revenue deal that wasn’t initially a full share, and that he doesn’t believe Sunday play is a significant issue in the Cougars’ candidacy for an invitation.