Tom Holmoe Looks To ‘Level Up’ BYU’s Cougar Club For Big 12 Move

Mar 30, 2022, 4:49 PM | Updated: 4:53 pm
Tom Holmoe - BYU Athletics...
Brigham Young University Athletic Director Tom Holmoe speaks during a press conference in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Since BYU received the invitation to the Big 12 Conference, athletic director Tom Holmoe has been at work looking to find ways to elevate his department.

From scheduling, facilities, revenue streams, Holmoe is looking at all. Power Five affiliation has always been a dream for BYU sports, but in 2023, it will become a reality. So is BYU ready to make the jump?

Holmoe, who is in the running for Athletic Director of the Year, sent a message to Cougar Club donors this week expressing his desire to “level up” BYU sports and the donor group as they gear up for the Big 12 era.

Tom Holmoe sends a message to Cougar Club donors

“The invitation and acceptance to join the Big 12 in 2023 presents new opportunities, challenges, and expectations,” Holmoe, the 17th year AD, said in a pre-recorded video for Cougar Club members. “For some, the invitation signaled an arrival of sorts, to a dream destination. While I acknowledge the benefits of our new conference affiliation, let me be clear, a seat at a table is far from the success we seek.”

Holmoe continued, “Having rubbed shoulders with universities of our future conference, it is clear to me that our overall commitment must be elevated to a new standard. And that commitment starts with me.”

BYU athletics is an autonomous entity that receives no tithing from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or tax dollars to run its programs. That makes the Cougar Club a major funding source for BYU men’s and women’s athletic teams.

BYU’s peers in the Big 12 have an upper hand right now in revenue

The last reported U.S. Department of Education data for BYU athletics in 2019 reported nearly $40 million in revenues between men’s and women’s athletics. By comparison, future Big 12 foes Baylor reported over $100 million in revenues in that same year, and Oklahoma State was close to $70 million.

BYU’s revenue streams will see an uptick in the Big 12 from TV money, but it will still be at a 50% share of the eight schools remaining in the Big 12 until the new TV contract kicks in, starting in 2025. That puts a greater emphasis on BYU to pull in additional donations to be in a spot to compete in the new Big 12.

“As athletic director, I’m reflecting on what I can do, personally, to level up my role. I’ve asked for the same reflection and commitment from every member of our athletic team. In a recent athletic senior leadership council meeting, we made a commitment to focus on improving the individual experiences of our Cougar Club members. We have invested in technologies and consulted with industry experts that will improve transparency, communication opportunities, and unique experiences for our members.”

Cougar Club members will get an exclusive app

Back in January, during an annual roundtable with the media, Holmoe, when asked if there would be any upgrades to LaVell Edwards Stadium in the coming years, he noted that the finances and resources at BYU would be focused on the experience. Likewise, the experience appears to be a top priority for BYU’s donor club, which has been around since 1963

Holmoe said that Cougar Club members would be invited to download a mobile app exclusive to Cougar Club members, which will share content and insights for the donors. Instead of what members get, Holmoe wants the focus to shift to, “How do you feel as a member of the Cougar Club?”

The Cougar Club is one of the many things that BYU is working to “level up” as they gear up for life in the Big 12 Conference.

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

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Tom Holmoe Looks To ‘Level Up’ BYU’s Cougar Club For Big 12 Move