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BYU And WAC Contract Details Emerge

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The Deseret news was able to attain a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding which was a tentative agreement between BYU and the eight WAC schools, and the deal was a sweet one. First off the obvious what everyone knew is that BYU would join the WAC in all non-football sports, and any money either side received from ESPN in football would go to each separate entity as would any bowl or BCS money. That seems pretty standard and makes sense for BYU to retain as much money as possible for football.

A future football schedule was set up with two games at a WAC stadium and four at BYU in 2011, then two at each stadium in 2012, and then in 2013 and beyond there would be an equal split. The only exception was if BYU were to set up long term contracts with Utah State or Hawaii. This sounds like there would have been a rotation set up between each school, and if Utah State or Hawaii were to be a separate contract that could have pushed WAC games up to eight a year and basically give BYU a built in schedule as if they were in a league. However, if Utah State and Hawaii were on separate contracts the number of WAC games on the rotational basis would have been lowered to four.

BYU also would have had full voting rights in all sports except football but it could be assumed that BYU it would have an unofficial say in what goes on in football. Besides the football independence BYU had a sweet set up by being able to broadcast WAC championship events not shown on ESPN through BYU-TV:

"BYU commits to televising via its cable network the following WAC events: all matches of the WAC volleyball tournament not televised by ESPN, all games of the WAC men's and women's basketball tournaments not televised by ESPN, all games of the WAC baseball tournament and softball tournament," the agreement stated. "BYU will have the rights to televise any other WAC championship events that is wishes, along with any other regular-season events when permissible per the ESPN contract."

That shows two things: one that BYU and the WAC were all but a few signatures away from a done deal and the second is that BYU would keep the money made from this because it would be events not under the ESPN agreement by showing those events on BYU-TV. Since BYU-TV is available pretty much nation wide this would provide the WAC with more opportunities to be on television.

As for the football post season BYU would have secured an opportunity within the WAC bowl lineup in addition to any other deals they could strike on their own:

"BYU will be guaranteed one of the WAC's current four bowl spots as long as its record is better than that of the WAC team finishing third in the conference standings," the MOU stated. "BYU will be responsible for all expenses and any liability associated with the bowl game."

Not a bad deal especially if BYU were to have a down year and was sitting at 8-4 in compared to their current trend of rolling out 10 plus win seasons in football. This next quote explains in detail the buy out clauses for the league:

The agreements, which as of now are not going to happen, included an eight-year term, a $2 million buyout for BYU and $5 million buyouts for the other schools - with the option to waive the buyout for Louisiana Tech. If any WAC school in the agreement, including BYU, were to leave for a BCS conference, the buyout fee would also be waived. BYU would agree to not rejoin the MWC if that conference were to eventually receive automatic qualifying BCS status.

Again, BYU had all of the leverage in this situation because they had a lesser buy out and were the only legitimate team to get a chance to be invited to a BCS league. The Louisiana Tech clause is interesting and I the WAC is either being nice to allow La. Tech to leave since they are in no mans land or the league does not want the travel costs since the closest school is New Mexico State.

For those who say nothing was set in stone this is proof that the deal was done and only needed the signatures of all the parties, but it all fell apart when Fresno State and Nevada bolted for more money in the Mountain West. This was a very attractive deal for BYU and also the WAC since they would get a good football partner plus a lot more sports would be on television through BYU-TV during certain sports post season tournament which otherwise would not be on television at all.

Who knows if the Mountain West would provide any of the Mountain West championship sports to be shown on BYU-TV to appease BYU.  There has been the thought which would allow BYU to simulcast some of their home BYU games in addition with The Mtn, but not sure if Comcast will give that up.

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