The Brigham Young Cougars have no choice now; they must declare independent status for football. This is no longer a question of whether or not independence is a good thing for BYU. This is a matter of principle. BYU has to stand up for what is right.
Commissioner Craig Thompson and the Mountain West Conference (MWC) have taken this too far. From Wyoming down to San Diego State, everyone in the MWC knows that without BYU they would have either cut the football program or moved down to Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) status. After decades of being the lifeblood of the WAC and now the MWC, BYU has finally decided to make a bold move for the good of the program. How does the MWC react? They show their true colors. Rather than sit down and have a mature conversation where they concede that BYU should get more from this relationship after getting the very short end of the stick all these years, they find a way to detour BYU's well laid plans by inviting Fresno State and Nevada to leave the WAC and join the MWC.
This ingratitude, this conceitedness must not be rewarded. BYU should not enter into any agreement with the MWC, regardless of the concessions being offered. The reality is that while things may look better on paper, New Mexico, Colorado State, Wyoming, and the others are still the same. Nothing is really going to change. BYU must stand for BYU. The Cougars cannot be held hostage by a bunch of Rebels, Cowboys, and Aztecs. If the MWC thinks that they can keep the other BYU team sports in the conference by crippling the WAC, they need to think again. BYU needs to go find another conference, any conference. I don't care if it is an NAIA conference. "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, [the MWC] may combine, [conference members] may assemble, calumny may defame. But [BYU athletics] will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of [BYU] shall be accomplished" (Joseph Smith, The Wentworth Letter).
Cougar fans, now is the time to support BYU athletics like never before. Attend as many sporting events as you can. Attend basketball, volleyball, baseball, and soccer games in record numbers. Who cares if the competition is lousy. We must give our support. This is our time to show the rest of the country the strength of BYU athletics.
Within the athletics department, coaches and administrators need to take what has happened and turn it into a rally cry. Use this to light a fire in every athlete's belly, to place a chip on everyone's shoulder, and to get the players foaming at the mouth. It is time to play the disrespect card. A new quest must begin involving the entire Athletics Department. A quest to make 2010-11 the greatest year of athletics that this university has ever known, so that it may be said that "persecution has not stopped the progress of [BYU athletics], but has only added fuel to the flame. It has spread with increasing rapidity. Proud of the cause which they have espoused and conscious of our innocence and of the truth of their system" (Joseph Smith, The Wentworth Letter).