For BYU It's Independence or Bust

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).


  1. What does Joseph Smith's Wentworth letter have anything to do with BYU athletics???

  2. I think it's a point well-taken, but the references to the Wentworth letter were not needed in my opinion. It comes off a bit fanatical. I don't think you can equate BYU athletics with the church as a whole, even if BYU is a church-owned school.

  3. Why was the Wentworth letter included? Bizarre...

  4. First I really like those quotes. They are powerful and motivating. Their inclusion is meant to convey the emotion and passion I am feeling about what is happening, and not to equate BYU athletics with the church as a whole.

    I also think they farily accurately represent what is happening here. BYU is trying to progess its athletics and penetrate as large of an audience as possible--and those are Holmoe and Bronco's words, not mine. What the MWC did to invite FSU and Nevada is very much a form of persecution.

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you come back often.

  5. Wow, the Editor is an idiot. It is people like this that make me embarrassed to be a BYU fan and give justification to all the people that hate BYU. Using The Wentworth Letter (something Joseph Smith wrote to inform the world that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth) as a rallying cry for who our football team plays and on what channel they play them is just pathetic, and really is kind of sacrilegious. I love BYU football, but it is just a team playing a game, it doesn't bring salvation to anyone. This is the first and last time I will visit this pathetic, myopic, insipid blog. And Editor, get some perspective on life.

  6. Wow..I would love the outside world to see this editorial. I feel sorry for BYU fans that have to have a hypocrite like you posting something so arrogant and pompus.

  7. Interesting, opinion. So, Bronco Mendenhall can quote scripture when he talks about BYU football, but I can't quote the Wentworth Letter?

    When you get down to the technicality of it, you are right that football doesn't bring salvation to anyone, and neither does anything else that BYU does. However, how many guys have come to play at BYU and gotten baptized while a Cougar? I would quote a scripture about the worth of a soul, but I'll let Bronco do it for me.

    I also fail to see how this blog post showed a lack of perspective on life. Anyone care to inform me?

  8. Your post is fine…just get ride of the Wentworth part. It makes you sound silly and corny.

  9. Maybe we should go to a BCS game once or twice before we try to bolt the MWC. Now is not the right time to go independent.

    We should focus on educations and athletics and not on the mighty dollar.

    What is the true purpose of BYU? It shouldn't be revenue based.

    Cougar 87'

  10. Are you an editor or a preacher? This is football we're talking about. I'm a MWC fan located in Michigan. The Mountain West has competed admirably of late, and correct me if I'm wrong but the coffers of all schools of late have increased through the labor of Utah and TCU, both BCS competitors in the last two years. Now, we picked up Boise State that leaped at the opportunity to showcase it's talent in the conference beginning 2011. You might want to check out how many Independent there are currently on the chart. The current bowl system is set up to pair competition tied to conference participation, and in the unique example of a top 8 ranking at season's end Notre Dame gets a shot. The facts are, Notre Dame hasn't done squat of late, Air Force has humiliated the fighting Irish and honestly I don't know if Brian Kelly "the wiz" is gonna get it done for several years there if ever. Pride is an interesting concept, scripturally I believe it's an abomination unto our heavenly father. Sometimes it's good to just go out and smoke the competition, this whole money grab has ruined a lot of great football history and I hope that the young men and women whom compete day in and day out earnestly understand that it's more than the scoreboard that matters in the grand scheme of life.

  11. John, I consider myself and editor and in this case I was writing an editorial, which, by definition, is "an article ... presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor, or editors."

    I wholly agree that the MWC has raised its performance on the field the last 5 years. I have said it before, and until Fresno State and Nevada were invited, I still very much liked the direction of the MWC. The recent coaching hires and the continued stability and strength at the top maked the MWC on par with the Big East for sure, and in a few years could rival the Pac-10 and ACC. Yes, Utah and TCU going to BCS bowls has brought more money to the conference, but not as much as we all want it to be since the BCS payout to non-AQ schools is small to start with, and then it has to be shared between five conferences, not one. End result is maybe a couple hundred thousand and not multiple millions. While I don't want to minimize the accomplishments of Utah and TCU and what that has done, we should not over state it as well.

    The big problem with the MWC is that they don't work together as a team. The decision to invite FSU and Nevada is a perfect example of that. Going all the way back to the old WAC days, anytime that there was a vote on a matter that would benefit BYU, the vote was unanimously against it (except BYU's vote, naturally). In team sports, schems and game plans are all designed around the best player. BYU has been the "best player" in the MWC (maybe not on the field but to help best position the MWC nationally), but the rest of the MWC joins together to try and bring BYU down, rather than take advantage of the assets that BYU has to move the conference forward for the benefit of everyone.

    I feel the same way about the money grab. I strongly believe that the NCAA needs to do something to better control what is happening. As far as BYU going independent, I find no reason to believe it is a money grab. Of course, you always need to understand the financial ramifications of such a huge decision and to cost justify the move to independence, but BYU has never done anything just for the sake of making money. For years, the tickets to BYU football games were far less than other places because the size of the stadium. BYU could cover all expenses even with cheaper tickets because of the shear volume of the tickets being sold.

    None of this was meant to expand beyond the scope of collegiate athletics. Yes, there is much more to life. I don't see a move to independence an indication of pride.


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