BYU AD: ESPN Deal Includes Out If Cougars Invited To Power Five Conference

Jan 31, 2020, 5:33 PM | Updated: 6:50 pm


Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe said that the school’s new deal with ESPN has a clause that allows the Cougars out of the contract provided they are invited to a Power Five contract between now and 2026.

Holmoe spoke about the Cougars’ new contract with ESPN during a media Q&A session on Thursday, January 30.

BYU is currently an independent in football and isn’t associated with a conference.

During the Q&A, Holmoe stated that the school’s goal is to be invited to one of the Power Five conferences.

The Power Five consists of the Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, and SEC.

According to Holmoe, BYU’s new deal with ESPN would allow them to join one of those five conferences before their partnership with the Bristol-based company ends in 2026.

The Cougars have shown an interest in recent years in joining the Big 12.

In July 2019, Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that expansion wasn’t on the horizon for his conference.

“We have had no expansion discussion at any level,” said Bowlsby. “We like the ten we have. We think the full Round Robin is the right way to conduct competition and in the case of our basketball, full double Round Robin. We are distributing record revenues and we have heretofore unanticipated media opportunities and I don’t expect that to be an active topic on anybody’s agenda within the conference anytime in the foreseeable future.”

The Big 12’s current rights agreement runs through the 2024-25 academic year. After 2024 or 2025, we could possibly see realignment pop up again in college athletics with the television rights deals expiring but no one knows for sure as mobile and digital consumption continues to grow.

Conference structures could potentially remain unchanged until the expiration of current rights agreements. The College Football Playoff has a deal with ESPN that runs through 2026, meaning the next trigger for a possible shift in the college football landscape could be four or five years away.

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BYU AD: ESPN Deal Includes Out If Cougars Invited To Power Five Conference