Part 1 of 2
After breaking down all the options that BYU and Utah have to get national recognition and just to be seen on TV again. BYU and Utah only have one option left. They need to leave the conference. The Mountain West Conference has been a disappointment. When the league began this was suppose to be the rival conference to the PAC-10 or at least another conference of western power --the WAC without all the stereotypes attached of poor defensive play and gimmicks. ESPN bought into this vision, giving the Mountain West Conference a very lucrative and exclusive contract. What happened? Why have things gone so wrong now? Poor management.
Although commissioner Craig Thompson wants to pass the buck to the school presidents about the problems in the league; (which makes no sense when was the last time you heard a CEO blame the board of directors for problems in a company? The CEO makes the big bucks the CEO needs to produce.) however, the commissioners job is huge. They are responsible for negotiations with bowl, basketball venues, BCS talks, etc. Not to mention TV deals! Craig Thompson has painted the Utes and Cougars into a corner and they need to just walk out.
BYU and Utah are the Mountain West Conference. That is the last bit of negotiating leverage that they have. BYU has a national fan base. When ESPN had their 25th anniversary they published the top 25 rating telecasts they had. What did the top five on that list all have in common? BYU. BYU was playing in all five games. Utah has the national attention. The consistency of the basketball program and breaking of the BCS still makes the Utes a household name. They can't afford to go into obscurity? So what do they need to demand?
I imagine the Presidents of BYU and Utah get together and draft an ultimatum. They state to other members of the conference that Craig Thompson needs to go by a certain date or they are gone. At the same time, send a statement to CSTV/Comcast (whoever else is responsible for this terrible TV deal) and state that unless viewership and quality issues are resolved to a certain level of reasonable expectation by a certain date they are gone. The powers to be know there isn't a point to this huge TV deal if BYU and Utah aren't a part of it, and they will scramble to get things done.
Now you may be asking, where will they go? In part 2, I will examine what possibilities are available, and how it might be a great thing for both schools to leave the MWC regardless.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Part 1 of 2