BYU AD Tom Holmoe Sees Opportunities For Stability After House v. NCAA Settlement

May 29, 2024, 1:56 PM | Updated: 2:05 pm

House v NCAA, BYU Cougars, Tom Holmoe...

BYU Cougars AD Tom Holmoe shared his thoughts on the House v. NCAA settlement. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

IRVING, Texas—The House v. NCAA settlement, which ushers in potential revenue sharing from schools to athletes, is a hot topic at the Big 12 Spring Business Meetings.

Taking a seat in those meetings at the Four Seasons in suburban Dallas is BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe.

Holmoe took the AD chair at BYU in 2005. He began participating in Big 12 Conference meetings after the Cougars were invited in 2021.

It’s easy to point out the drastic changes to college athletics since Holmoe’s first year guiding BYU’s athletic department. However, the change since BYU became a Big 12 member has also been jarring.

The House v. NCAA settlement, which was voted on by the Autonomous Five conferences and the NCAA, will pay former athletes, dating back to 2016, $2.8 billion.

It also sets the stage for revenue sharing, where schools will pay up to a reported cap of $22 million back to their athletes beginning as early as the fall of 2025.

How does that impact BYU athletics?

BYU AD Tom Holmoe shares thoughts on House v. NCAA settlement

“I think every school in the country will be impacted in a major way by this,” Holmoe said in an exclusive interview with KSL Sports.

“But if you really sit back and look at it, I think the stability of college athletics –and looking back at the last number of years– has been going to a very unstable place. And the future of college athletics was going to be very difficult to continue.”

Since BYU was officially invited to the Big 12 Conference in 2021, the national landscape ushered in NIL, free agency for student-athletes in the transfer portal without sitting out, and mounting lawsuits against the NCAA.

The House v. NCAA settlement didn’t solve all the issues for the NCAA and college administrators. But stability could be on the horizon again.

“This settlement is actually, I think, in the end, will help change college athletics for the better,” Holmoe said. “There was never a case in my mind where the athletes weren’t going to receive more of the revenue. Was it going to be pay-for-play employees, this settlement, or shared revenue? It was going to happen somehow, some way.

“So my take on it now is starting at BYU, working with the Big 12 Conference, working on the national scene with the NCAA, and seeing what we can best do to make the future great for college athletics. College Athletics has been a fantastic place.”

Payments to past athletes

The payments to past athletes as part of the settlement date back to 2016. From 2016 to 2022, BYU was not a member of a Power Five conference. They operated as a Football Bowl Subdivision Independent and a member of the West Coast Conference in their Olympic sports.

There are questions on whether BYU must pay the same amount as their power conference peers.

Holmoe said there is “a lot that has to be determined by the courts in conjunction with the settlement” regarding what former athletes must be paid. This week’s Big 12 Spring Business Meetings begin that sorting-out process.

Will BYU pay the reported $22 million cap annually?

Then there’s the question of the reported $22 million cap that individual schools can impose on student-athletes.

Will BYU pay that amount annually?

“A lot of it has to do with this conference. Because you can’t collude. You can do things on a conference level; you can’t do things on a national level; that’s what the lawsuit was about,” said Holmoe. “…You can’t really answer the questions until we get into this settlement and how the conferences look at it. So we will have some great conversations today that will go on for months.”

“Figure out how we best align with our school mission”

Despite all of the changes that Holmoe has experienced since taking the AD chair at BYU in 2005, he continues to be energized by the industry.

“All the things that are going on around are motivating. I think it’s inspiring because our focus of attention is always on the student-athlete,” Holmoe said.

“So when you have these peripheral forces, we just named a bunch of them, we just have to figure out how we best align that with our school mission. The mission that we have is to take care of our student-athletes and grow and develop them and help their dreams come true.”

Even after a historic settlement that tears the century-old amateurism model down to its core, college sports is a space that Holmoe believes in.

“Student-athlete lives, fan bases, the brands for the schools, and college athletics are good. And when there are changes that need to be made, you just have to kind of be part of the solution, not part of the part of the problem.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU AD Tom Holmoe Sees Opportunities For Stability After House v. NCAA Settlement