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BYU athletic director says Cougars did not turn down Big 12 invite

Published October 17, 2011 3:43 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Corvallis, Ore. • Brigham Young University, an independent in football, has not been invited to join the Big 12 Conference, but has been involved in talks with that league and has "no intentions of not being with the big boys" when the conference realignment craze that is altering the collegiate sports landscape concludes, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said Saturday in ending the school's six weeks of silence on the matter.

"Some people have stated out there that we have rejected an offer to the Big 12 Conference," said Holmoe, speaking to reporters moments before BYU kicked off against Oregon State at Reser Stadium. "And I think, obviously if you haven't received an offer to join, you can't really reject that offer, so I think that that goes without saying."

Asked if BYU would accept a Big 12 invitation if one were extended, Holmoe declined to answer.

"I can't say that, because if you don't receive an invitation, it is hard to say, 'what if.' You can't say. That's just speculation," Holmoe said.

The athletic director said BYU has been "monitoring" conference realignment for quite some time and decided to break its silence now that TCU has joined the Big 12. BYU was reported to be the Big 12's primary target to replace Texas A&M as its 10th member until 10 days ago, when the league invited the Horned Frogs.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported Friday that the Big 12's television partners urged the league to bypass BYU for TCU. Holmoe said he doesn't "know the answer to that question" when asked why the Big 12 talked to BYU extensively, only to invite a school already within its geographical footprint.

"That's something that remains, I think, private," Holmoe said.

Holmoe also refused to say whether he knows what the Big 12 is planning to do next and whether it ultimately will decide on 10 or 12 teams, pending Missouri's decision to possibly bolt for the SEC.

"That would be private. That would be something that would be confidential in what they do, and certainly the Big 12 will make those decisions in the days and weeks and months and years to come," he said.

Was BYU ever close to being invited to the Big 12?

"It is hard to say that," Holmoe said. "That is an internal decision. Obviously, it got really close for TCU and they got admitted. So it is hard to say how close that was from their perspective."

The athletic director said BYU will continue to monitor the process, "and we will do our very best to stay involved in the process."

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay