By Jeremy Mauss
The Big East -- or whatever the new football league will eventually be called -- is not giving up its pursuit in landing BYU. The league is looking to replace Boise State and San Diego State since the schools elected to stay in the Mountain West.
The league would like to get BYU to join so that it could boost their television deal, and also to get them to 12 teams once Navy joins in 2015. The new TV deal calls for ESPN to pay out $130 million over seven years, just under $2 million per school. That amount is something BYU easily eclipses as an independent.
In an email obtained by CBSSports.com, East Carolina's athletic director Terry Holland sent out a message to his future conference mates in late December with a plan that would allow the league to "court" BYU.
Here is that plan:
-- The negotiation of a five-year extension to the remaining one year on the media rights deal with ESPN.
-- All schools would have the right to either negotiate separate TV money for their own home games or be part of broader membership negotiations.
-- Schools would remain full-time conference members with either selection unless they'd prefer a football-only designation or decided to leave.
-- It would resolve the stability issue “since all coalition members will assign their media rights to the Big East for the full six years” and that members would have a better feel for their collective worth as a conference after four years of a six-year deal.
This deal gives little incentive or BYU to join the league, from a monentary stand point, and a competitive one too. The second bullet point makes no sense for ESPN to pay their current amount for less games, since it would allow the league to sale other games to different networks. Under that proposal, BYU would likely be able to keep their current contract with ESPN, plus whatever else the league as a whole would receive.
The only benefit for BYU is that they would have an easier time filling out their schedule, and maybe a slight bump in pay. The schedule would be much weaker than what BYU has going forward; the Cougars have future dates with Boise State, Texas, Notre Dame, Michigan, Wisconsin and others.
Also consider that BYU has already said no to the Big East, and that was when the league was much stronger. This idea floated out there as a way to entice BYU is not one that the Cougars would accept because the benefits are not there to join a league that is no better than what they were a part of when they were with the Mountain West.