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Former Big 12 Commissioner Discusses Consideration BYU Received During 2010 Realignment

The Big 12 logo on the field during the game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Maryland Terrapins on September 22, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. WVU defeated Maryland 31-21. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Big 12 Conference commissioner Dan Beebe joined KSLSports.com BYU insider Mitch Harper on the Cougar Tracks podcast to discuss how much consideration BYU received from the Big 12 during 2010 realignment.

A decade removed from college football’s landscape shifting moves in 2010, Beebe discussed the Big 12’s position after Nebraska and Colorado departed for other Power Five conferences.

Instead of the Cougars remaining a member of the Mountain West Conference or joining a Power Five conference, BYU announced in 2010 that it would begin to play football as an FBS independent in 2011.

With the Big 12 comprised of fewer schools at the time, Harper asked Beebe how much consideration BYU received from Big 12 as a potential invitee to the conference.

“We did look at going with 12 and the more we looked at it the more there wasn’t really that other institution, institutions that would have come into the league that would have made a difference in terms of more revenue which a lot of that was about keeping or even increasing the revenue,” Beebe said. “BYU is one of those schools that might have been able to move the needle a little bit in that regard but I think there were impediments.”

Some of the potential roadblocks that the former commissioner mentioned included:

  • BYU’s distance from other Big 12 schools
  • Conference tournament play with BYU’s policy not to play on Sunday

Ten years later, and following additional conference realignment moves in the Power Five, BYU still finds itself as an independent team in football.

Harper asked Beebe if he thought there was a scenario where BYU could join a Power Five conference in the future.

“Yeah, I don’t know. Independence is so tough to get access to probably what BYU would like because College Football Playoff or major bowl opportunities,” Beebe said. “I admire that they stick to their values and stick to what they really are about as an overall institution. I think that’s some the rest of college athletics could take a note of is how BYU is going to not compromise its principles for the sake of more notoriety in athletics, perhaps more revenue, you know any of those kinds of things.”

The Cougars will wrap up their first full decade as an independent in football when they begin the 2020 season against the University of Utah on September 3.

Currently, the Big 12 is comprised of 10 teams and hasn’t added any members since 2012.

Beebe served as the conference’s commissioner from 2007-11.

The Cougar Tracks podcast (SUBSCRIBE) gives you a daily insider look into BYU athletics. KSLSports.com BYU Insider Mitch Harper hosts the show and brings you everything from the latest happenings in the Cougar football and men’s basketball programs to the dish on the recruiting trail. Cougar Tracks is your go-to podcast for the best daily BYU conversation.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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