BYU AD Tom Holmoe answers a variety of questions on Cougar sports
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe spent about 45 minutes answering questions from the local Utah media on Thursday afternoon, touching upon subjects ranging from the honor code to football independence to scheduling to what the football team's uniforms will look like this fall. Here's a quick rundown: * Holmore said it "feels good" to be an independent in football and said the experience since making the announcement eight months ago has been mostly positive. "Some people think you are crazy," while other ADs he has spoken to wonder if they could pull it off at their schools, he said. Asked how long BYU will be an independent (in football), Holmoe said there is no bail-out plan and that the Cougars are planning as if they are in this thing for the long haul. "We are going to go forward in a paradigm that is real," he said. * The first question was about the Brandon Davies situation. Holmoe said there should be some resolution a couple of weeks before fall classes are set to begin and not the day before. He said other athletes in sports that aren't as high profile have had honor code issues as well, but those haven't been publicized. Holmoe reiterated that whether Davies will be allowed to re-enroll at BYU is not his decision. As for all the fall-out that occurred, Holmoe said "We didn't have any practice on this one ... We had no idea how it would go," when BYU announced Davies had been suspended. Asked why some athletes are punished differently than others, Holmoe said that "every issue is dealt with individually ... I don't think that it is [more or less] lenient [for athletes]." * I asked Holmoe about the famous Deadspin article that charged BYU's honor code office with being unfair to minorities with the way it handles investigation, punishment, etc. Holmoe said he does not believe the school has a problem in that regard and that the article was one-sided and lacking in depth and context. He told reporters to go ask the current BYU athletes who are minorities whether or not they feel they are treated equally and fairly. * Holmoe said he realized when BYU football declared its independence that its BCS access would not be desirable. He said the school knew it wouldn't be much different for them from the time they were in a conference. Asked if there would come a time when BYU would feel like it would have to lobby for better BCS access, or Notre Dame-like access (top eight guaranteed), Holmoe said, "I would like to have it happen on the field." * Holmoe said it has "been hard" to schedule future football games in November because teams in conferences already have those games finalized, and most conferences want only conference games to be played that month. "We are hoping conferences will be more lenient," he said. He also said BYU is hoping to use its deal with ESPN, and its own ability to televise games through BYUtv, as a selling point, an advantage, to get teams to agree to play the Cougars in November. "We have the opportunity to get them on TV," he said. ".... TV loves non-conference matchups, especially late in the season." * Holmoe said the Cougars have one more game to fill for the 2012 football season, but did not list the other 11 opponents on the schedule. Personally, I am aware of these nine opponents: Oregon State, Hawaii, Utah, Boise State, Utah State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, New Mexico State, San Jose State. Holmoe said there's still the possibility of playing Louisiana Tech as part of the deal with the WAC that expires after the 2012 season. He also said "possibly" when asked if there could be more announcements of future football opponents before the 2011 season kicks off on Sept. 3 at Ole Miss. Asked if the football series with Utah State will be home and home or a two-for-one in the future with BYU as an independent, Holmoe said, "We are working on all the possibilities." * Holmoe acknowledged that because the BYU basketball team will play in a conference that is perceived to be lesser than the one it is leaving, the "goal will be to play a more challenging non-conference schedule." * Speaking of basketball, Holmoe said it was "tough" to keep coach Dave Rose in the fold. "He was pulled hard," Holmoe said. * Holmoe said BYU is happy with its apparel contract with Nike and that it will continue to work with Nike in the future. He said no football uniform changes are being planned for this fall. He also said there is no plan to wear Nike Pro-Combat uniforms in games this season. * Holmoe said there are "no immediate plans" to retire Jimmer Fredette's jersey number in the near future. He said it usually takes 10 years before BYU decides to retire a former athlete's jersey number. Asked which NBA team he would like to see draft Fredette, Holmoe replied: "Jazz" * Holmoe said BYU's athletic department has operated in the black each of the past four years financially. "A lot of schools their budgets are a lot bigger than ours, and they don't win a lot of games," he said. * Asked about the new Pac-12 TV deal, Holmoe said, "If you have money, you are expected to win." * The athletic director said BYU is working on some facility upgrades right now, but wouldn't specify what those are. "We have never kept up with the Joneses, facility-wise," he said. Holmoe said that right now the Cougars are not losing recruits because of their facilities. * Holmoe said plans are already under way to monetize (make money off) BYUtv. However, there are some restrictions on what "education TV programming" stations are allowed to do that have to be acknowledged and worked through. * Asked whether BYU was really talking to ESPN or other entities about creating its own bowl game, perhaps one to be played on Christmas Day, Holmoe said there wasn't much to that. "Never heard one thing about it," he said. (I have been told that later, while doing a television interview, Holmoe acknowledged that he had talked to three or four people who were hoping to get a new bowl game credentialed). * Holmoe said it is not known for sure yet which year Notre Dame will visit Provo as part of the six-game series the two schools agreed to last year. BYU will play in South Bend in 2012 and 2013. * Holmoe said he talks with ESPN a couple times a week and that the partnership is real and helpful to both sides. He mentioned how ESPN helped BYU with its recent Y Awards, which is sort of a knock-off of the ESPY awards. Holmoe said ESPN will television on one of its platforms all but one of BYU's home football games this year. BYUtv will television the other game. By the way, associate AD Duff Tittle said that BYUtv is scheduled to televise more than 120 live BYU sports events next year (after doing about 40 this year). * Asked about the future of the BYU-Utah rivalry, Holmoe said he talks weekly with Utah AD Chris Hill and that the schools plan on playing each other at least once a year in every sport. "It will be as intense, if not more," he said. He wants the BYU-Utah football game moved back to November, but acknowledged that it probably won't happen. As far as playing other MWC programs in the future, Holmoe said some of the hard feelings have already started to disappear. "They will get over it. We need to play these guys," he said, noting that he has already had some conversations about scheduling with MWC ADs. "I think you will see it in other sports before football," he said. * I asked Holmoe about the BYU baseball program, which has been mediocre for several years now after being one of the best in its conference for many years. "We gotta get better .. We need to get better," he said, declining to say whether he would give coach Vance Law a vote of confidence or not.
"I don't do that," he said. * Finally, BYU announced that it will conduct a BYU football media day in Provo on July 12, a Tuesday.