Brigham Young declares its football independence

Always love over-the-top historical references to major happenings in the sports world, and Brigham Young’s announcement Tuesday that it was leaving the Mountain West Conference qualified as a rather large event in the college football empire. I’ll let Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson take it from there:

“Otto von Bismarck would have loved what BYU pulled off on Tuesday. The long-ago German aristocrat and chancellor is famously credited, some say erroneously, with the words: ‘Football independence is like sausage. It’s better not to see it made.’

“OK, that’s not exactly what the old statesman said, if he, in fact, ever said anything about making sausages. But if he had said it, he would have been spot on.

“Otto v. B. is also quoted as saying: ‘With a gentleman, I am always a gentleman and a half, and when I have to do with a pirate, I try to be a pirate and a half.’

“Some versions of that quote take out the word ‘pirate’ and insert ‘fraud.’

“Either way, who knew there were so many similarities between cutthroat European politics of the 19th Century and modern American college football?”

The fallout from this move remains to be seen. But what I am certain of is that Monson’s multiple references to sausages is making me thirsty for a really good pint of Dortmunder Union.

Well, voilà, how’s this? ESPN, BYU make deal for TV rights starting in 2011.

The Mormon school will compete in other sports in the West Coast Conference, where Catholic institutions — most notably Gonzaga — account for seven of its current eight-school members.

Several sports in which BYU competes aren’t offered by the WCC, including softball and swimming. This will be an issue for other “mid-major” programs as they look to bounce around for better deals.

The primacy of football, and the television money that comes with it, trumps all other considerations, but schools will have to be careful of Title IX factors that could land them in court.

ESPN’s Andy Katz explains the implications for men’s hoops in the WCC that are quite significant.

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