The old adage "Where there's smoke, there's fire" is certainly applicable today as Mountain West Connection has been able to confirm reports that first popped up on the internet as rumors (i.e. message board posts with no links) regarding the return of the Brigham Young Cougars to the Mountain West Conference.
MW Connection was first alerted by message board posts on the fan message board MWCBoard.com claiming to have heard reports from KVOR 740 AM in Colorado Springs, Colo. and ESPN Radio The Team (104.1 FM) in Albuquerque stating that the MWC and BYU Cougars are in talks for the return of the Provo, Utah-based school to the MWC.
Air Force Falcons' play-by-play man and KVOR-AM morning anchor Jim Arthur confirmed to MW Conn late Friday morning that he indeed has reported the MWC-BYU talks on his show early Friday morning.
On the show, Arthur said he stated he had spoken to people with knowledge of the situation that confirmed to him that BYU and and the MWC were in talks for the return of the Cougars to the league.
Arthur said the context of the conversations he had with his sources was that "BYU and the MWC are in talks and both would like to get back together."
"This comes from the information I've gotten over the last couple of weeks from other people," said Arthur. "I can't say who these people are. But I feel good about the information I've heard from them.
"Personally, I think they need each other," said Arthur
Arthur said he feels "there will be an announcement by the end of the month."
"I base that on the information I've gotten and because they need to get the football schedules out and going," said Arthur.
MW Connection got a message from Bob Brown of The Team in Albuquerque this afternoon via email. His response can be seen here.
However, Arthur confirmed the message board rumors saying that an announcement is coming within weeks from the league and BYU. And he says he's confident of his sources.
The thing to remember is that the San Diego St. Aztecs have an exclusive window that lasts until until January to re-apply for admission to the MWC. So those times don't jibe. But could it be that SDSU has already passed on the MWC's invitation? The invitation was a stipulation in the agreement between the league and the Boise St. Broncos. But was it just a nicety extended by Boise State to SDSU for their role in getting the Broncos in the Big West Conference? Or is something else going on?
We at MWC Connection are "efforting" to suss it all out.
Lastly, there as this Twitter post this morning from West Coast Conference commissioner Jamie Zaninovich:
"We will continue to monitor landscape" now replaced w/"we will do what is in best interest of (name here) University." #GreatJobBadBusiness"
Folks over at MWCBoard.com were speculating that Zanionvich was talking about BYU - more smoke for the BYU-to-MWC fire.
At first it appeared Zaninovich was responding to a non-committal response from Mark Few, head coach or the Gonzaga Bulldogs, in a report by Spokane, Wash. regarding the Zags posible departure from the West Coast Conference TV station KHQ:
"We're happy with where we're at but we're going to continue to monitor everything that's going on," said Few. "We build ourselves into a national program and we're going to do what's best for Gonzaga through all this...."
Gonzaga is one of many schools rumored to be joining the so-called "Catholic 7" schools leaving the Big East in the near future. Those are the guys who basically triggered this whole MWC realignment mess.
But since then Zaninioch has tweeted a "clarification":
"To clarify: no implication here just an observation of the current landscape..."
So... there you have it! At least until we have to update again...