This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Don't count the Western Athletic Conference out of Brigham Young University's future athletic plans just yet.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday evening that his conference is still negotiating with BYU about the possibility of the Cougars going independent in football and placing its non-football sports in the WAC.
"Both sides are still working on a deal that will be beneficial to the WAC and to BYU," Benson said.
Earlier Friday, a source at Utah State also confirmed that negotiations were taking place between the two sides.
Benson said "nothing is imminent," but said that BYU to the WAC, an idea which seemed dead at the end of last week, "is still a possibility."
Talks cooled last week after the Mountain West Conference scuttled the plan by inviting WAC members Nevada and Fresno State to join it in anticipation of losing BYU.
That the Cougars would join a six-team WAC (Boise jumped to the MWC in June, beginning in 2011) seems implausible, but reports have surfaced that the WAC and/or BYU have approached Houston, UTEP and SMU of Conference USA recently about their interest.
Also Friday, the Birmingham (Ala.) News reported that ESPN director of college sports programming Burke Magnus has acknowledged the cable sports giant has had discussions with BYU about its possible plans for independence in football.
Magnus said there are few schools that could pull off football independence, but BYU might be one of them.