Big 12 Mock Expansion: BYU’s case for The Big 12

BYU linebacker Fred Warner, left, tackles UCLA wide receiver Jordan Lasley during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Since the Big 12 announced that it would at least consider adding new members this summer, expansion rumors have been the talk of college athletics. While an unofficial list of 11 schools has floated around the internet and a few serious candidates have emerged, The Daily Campus sports section has decided to take matters into its own hands with its Big 12 mock expansion. Ten staff members represented the 10 Big 12 schools as their respective university’s presidents and voted on a list of the 11 candidates rumored to still be in the mix. Out of the 11 candidates, six made the cut before the final expansion members are selected next week. The first of the final six candidates profiled in the DC mock Big 12 expansion series is BYU.

Brigham Young University is among the 11 finalists for a spot in the Big 12 Conference. Of the 11 finalists, it is believed that two or four teams will be invited into the conference.

Sports Illustrated writer Pete Thamel said this past Friday that Cincinnati and Houston are the current favorites for the two spots. However, he added that UConn and BYU are still in the race.

BYU has a phenomenal athletic program that speaks for itself. Over the last 10 years, their football team has a record of 99-43. During their 92 seasons they have accumulated a record of 556-404-26, to go along with 23 Conference Championships. Not to mention the fact that they have also been to 34 bowl games, winning 13.

The program has been deemed the “Quaterback Factory” over the years because they churn out stars at the position. Some notables include Steve Young, Hall of Fame Quaterback for the 49ers, Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, and former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon. Other notable alumni that play other positions include Dennis Pitta, Todd Christensen, Ezekiel Ansah and Brett Keisel.

Overall, BYU has 10 women’s varsity teams and nine men’s varsity teams.

The men’s basketball team has ranked among the top 25 NCAA programs for all-time victories, and the women’s basketball team has been in eight NCAA tournaments in the last 30 years, while consistently being at the top of the Mountain West Conference.

It is evident that their athletic department is well rounded and a worthy candidate of the Big 12.  The Cougars are also extremely marketable because of their loyal Mormon fan base.

The main reason why they might not be invited into the Big 12 is because of their stance against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and their refusal to play games on Sundays due to the school’s religious beliefs.

Fox Sports reported that Athlete Ally and the National Center for Lesbian Rights sent a letter to the Big 12 that encouraged them to not award BYU with membership to the conference, which can be read below.

“BYU…actively and openly discriminates against its LGBT students and staff. It provides no protection for LGBT students… Given BYU’s homophobic, biphobic and transphobic policies and practices, BYU should not be rewarded with a Big 12 membership.”

While BYU does not forbid LGBT students from attending the university, their Honor Code is discriminatory. A section in their Honor Code that outlines their stance on LGBT students states:

“Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

Even though BYU has solid athletic department, it is hard to see them receiving an invitation into the Big 12 based on their stance on the LGBT community. The Big 12 has had to deal with serious issues from Baylor, one of their members. Thus, making it extremely difficult for them to take on more scrutiny by accepting BYU into their conference.


Michael Logan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.logan@uconn.edu.