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ESPN deal a part of BYU football recruiting pitch

Published September 16, 2011 3:23 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I tackled the topic of BYU's football recruiting this morning, and how it is or isn't affected by Utah's move to the Pac-12. That article is here. This being rivalry week, neither Mendenhall nor Utah coach Kyle Whittingham wanted to say much about recruiting when asked about it early this week. However, Mendenhall was a lot more open during football media day last July (when he also said Utah's new conference affiliation had a minimal impact on the Cougars). He said then that the eight-year deal BYU signed with ESPN was already paying dividends in living rooms. "Instant credibility," Mendenhall said. "When ESPN goes by BYU's name, i will just contrast it this way: BYU and MWC, or BYU and ESPN. If I just put them side-by-side, in front of a recruit, they are going to pick ESPN. Whether that is right or not, the instant credibility, and instant increase in status, even though we haven't played as an independent yet, has come with the ESPN partnership. Because what it shows is, they have a bunch of people that want to play on their network. Yet they have gone out of their way to help us, and they are putting 8-10 games on, or whatever, that's more than we have had [on ESPN] in the last six years. That's in one season. All of a sudden if you are living a ways a way, and wondering if your family can see you play, just hit ESPN and you can watch. That's not the same as a local broadcast. That's the worldwide leader in sports. And so again, the best way I can put it is instant credibility."———————————— Lots of rivalry game-related articles online today, including this column by Gordon Monson on whether it is as intense and heated in September as it is in November. * Here's my notes on how the Cougars will honor their former All-American tight ends at Saturday's game. * Did you know that former BYU and NFL lineman Jason Buck is running for Congress? Here's more on that. * The Tribune's Michael C. Lewis gives us the latest on conference realignment as it relates to the Big 12 (and Pac-12, possibly) in this piece. * Here's more from the Oklahoman on the same topic.