This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
At this time last year, BYU's overall athletic program and even the school's honor code came under scrutiny as the Big 12 conference announced in July of 2016 that it would be considering candidates for expansion.
Of course, the league's board of directors decided in October not to expand, leaving fans and supporters of the 11 schools being considered, including BYU, disappointed and frustrated.
One of BYU's major selling points to the 10-team league was its overall athletic success, success the school built upon during the recently completed 2016-17 school year.
The Cougars finished the 2016-17 season ranked No. 31 in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings for Division I schools. The only current Big 12 schools that finished ahead of BYU were No. 7 Texas, No. 17 Oklahoma, No. 24 Baylor and No. 27 Oklahoma State.
Houston and Cincinnati, the two other leading candidates for Big 12 expansion, finished 84th and 85th, respectively.
Having finished No. 30 last year, BYU was still the highest-ranked school not in a Power 5 conference. Denver was the next highest, at No. 35.
BYU has been the top overall athletic program in the state of Utah every year since the Directors' Cup was instituted in 1993-94. Utah (54th) finished second in the state, but third was a surprise Southern Utah (153rd). Utah State (198), Weber State (252) and Utah Valley (287) rounded out the instate standings.
Below, I've listed the rankings for BYU and rival Utah since the Cup began.
Last March, BYU AD Tom Holmoe summed up BYU's current position athletically as awaits the next round of conference realignment, which may not happen until television contracts get re-negotiated in 2023.
"It was a great experience for us [to be considered by the Big 12]," Holmoe said. "We learned a lot about ourselves. When I say that, people say what does that mean? I think we always know more than anybody who we are and what we are all about, but I think when we delved into a lot of the details, and you put it all together and you take a real, real real close look under a microscope, you start to learn and see things differently. I felt really good about that.
"And speaking with our coaches and our student athletes, we felt that it was a good spot to be in."
In the 24 years of the Cup, BYU's average ranking is No. 33. Its highest finish was in 1998-99, when it finished 12th.
Will the Cougars be able to hold off Pac-12 Utah for instate supremacy? The Utes recently added men's lacrosse as a varsity sport, a shrewd move for many reasons that should enable Utah to close the gap and perhaps finish higher that BYU in a year for the first time ever.
Adding another varsity sport is unlikely for BYU, given the revenue disparity that already exists between it and Power 5 schools. Still, Holmoe said the overall program is financially stable.
"The most important thing is we looked at our strengths and weaknesses, and our strengths were strong in a lot of areas," he said of the presentation BYU made to the Big 12. "When you look back over the years of BYU football and basketball primarily, but all the other Olympic sports, we do things that most schools can't do, or haven't done. And when you put that down on paper and you examine it and you compare to those schools that are in Power 5 conferences, we compete like a Power 5 school."
BYU and Utah Finishes in Directors' Cup Standings
2017 BYU 31st, Utah 54th
2016 BYU 30th, Utah 51st
2015 BYU 48th, Utah 56th
2014 BYU 42nd, Utah 72nd
2013 BYU 43rd, Utah 77th
2012 BYU 43rd, Utah 74th
2011 BYU 37th, Utah 71st
2010 BYU 36th, Utah 75th
2009 BYU 47th, Utah 51st
2008 BYU 41st, Utah 82nd
2007 BYU 26th, Utah 60th
2006 BYU 31st, Utah 56th
2005 BYU 27th, Utah 55th
2004 BYU 9th, Utah 55th
2003 BYU 45th, Utah 56th
2002 BYU 23rd, Utah 70th
2001 BYU 17th, Utah 76th
2000 BYU 18th, Utah 54th
1999 BYU 12th, Utah 56th
1998 BYU 18th, Utah 37th
1997 BYU 16th, Utah 52nd
1996 BYU 33rd, Utah 59th
1995 BYU 28th, Utah 53rd
1994 BYU 22nd, Utah 87th