BYU Football’s Independence Hits 10-Year Anniversary

Jul 1, 2021, 4:04 PM
Tom Holmoe - BYU Football...
BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announces going independent in football and joining the WCC for other sports and their contract wit ESPN. Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010 (Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)
(Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – BYU football celebrated the 10th anniversary of its move to independence on Thursday, July 1.

The Cougars first announced their intention to leave the Mountain West Conference and go independent in football during the summer of 2010.

After spending more than a decade in the Mountain West, BYU has officially hit the 10-year mark as an FBS independent.

BYU Goes Independent

After being a founding member of the Mountain West in 1999, BYU left the conference in 2011.

The Cougars moved to independence in football and other programs into the West Coast Conference. Moving to the WCC in non-football sports came after a deal between BYU and the Western Athletic Conference fell apart.

BYU’s move to the WCC in other sports, including men’s basketball, was considered transformational by some.

“This transforms the league with one move,” a one source told ESPN in 2010.

As the school ventured in the unknown of football independence, BYU had already lined up a 2011 schedule, thanks in part to deal with ESPN, as well as reaching scheduling agreements with Notre Dame.

“Thanks to the success of our programs, we’ve had a difficult time finding teams willing to come to LaVell Edwards Stadium to play us,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a 2010 statement. “We believe the combined resources between BYU and ESPN are already paying off — we’re still working out the details, but we have agreed to a six-game deal through 2020 with Notre Dame football that will bring the Fighting Irish to Provo.”

As an FBS independent, BYU owns a record of 81-48, including 5-4 in bowl games.

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BYU Football’s Independence Hits 10-Year Anniversary