BYU to Big 12 news conference quotes and video links
Watch the full news conference from BYUtv (news conference portion begins at 42:26):
Video clips from the news conference available here:
NEWS CONFERENCE OPENING STATEMENTS
Big 12 Board Chair and Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec Opening Statement
"This morning, on behalf of my colleagues, the Board of Directors of the Big 12 Conference, I am delighted to welcome Brigham Young University into the Big 12.
The Big 12 presidents and chancellors began this process of adding members with the focus to strengthen the conference. The addition of BYU, with its rich tradition of athletic success and outstanding academic credentials, enhances the prestige, and the competitiveness, of the league on a national scale, and I say it sets us on a path to even greater success. A bigger, stronger, more national Big 12 is a great thing for college athletics, and certainly, Brigham Young University, brings a broad national interest to the Big 12.
I look forward to working with President Worthen. On behalf of my colleagues on the board, you know that we will benefit from your experience and your leadership and know that each institution in the Big 12 looks forward to welcoming you to their campus. I and members of the Red Raider family look forward to seeing you when we visit Provo.
Again, welcome to the Big 12."
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby Opening Statement
"We’re bringing in four great universities, 200,000 students, an additional three states, 40 million people, three of the best recruiting areas in the United States, tremendously broad-based programming with lots of successful athletic programs, led by outstanding coaches, and outstanding administrators.
In the case of Brigham Young University, your fine athletic director Tom Holmoe was the national Athletic Director of the year very recently. It's a good day for all of us, but it's especially a good day for the Big 12 conference.
Relative to BYU specifically, your iconic programs are a tremendous addition to the conference. A national championship, a Heisman Trophy winner, and excellent broad-based programs in lots of different sports.
I know this is the Friday before a big weekend with the game against Utah much anticipated and highly contested. We look forward to coming to Provo. It's as picturesque a city as there is in the United States, and although I haven't seen a game in Lavell Edwards Stadium, I've been to the stadium, and it's a spectacular venue for college football. I know you've just added new video boards and get to try those out over the weekend.
I have been so impressed with everybody I've come in contact with at BYU. I had a wonderful conversation with Gloria Nevarez from the West Coast Conference yesterday, and as much as she's sorry to see BYU moving to the Big 12, she was very complimentary in terms of how the organization operates, what kind of values are embedded in the university and in the athletics program. Those things don't just happen so I want to express my thanks to President Worthen and to Tom Holmoe, for the collaboration and the confidence that they have shown.
We are embarking upon this in a very different way than we did in 2016 when we were going through a sort of an exploration process, not knowing exactly where it would end up, and we ended up not expanding. This was a much different process. I think it will yield a very fruitful outcome. It will be a very successful partnership and indeed a marriage that's going to make Brigham Young University more competitive and is going to make the Big 12 more competitive.
Speaking purely on a personal level, I enjoy working with people that I trust and that I like and that I know share the values that I have for intercollegiate athletics. In a very short period of time, I've come to know that that's what your university stands for. So I just could not be any more excited today. As we embark upon this new marriage, and as we look for synergies in every way; at the university level, at the athletics level, at the conference level, to do things that make us all better. And hopefully we'll look back five years from now, 10 years from now and say, BYU has grown exponentially as a result of the relationship and the Big 12 conference is better than it ever was before as a result of BYU’s inclusion."
BYU President Kevin J Worthen Opening Statement
"This is an historic day for BYU Athletics and for the university as a whole. Our mission statement indicates that BYU is to be a place where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued. We strive to provide that kind of opportunity in everything we do, including our core academic endeavor, but membership in the Big 12 gives us an opportunity to reinforce that commitment for our student athletes, by allowing them to compete, athletically and academically at the very highest level.
We're grateful to the Big 12 for giving us that opportunity. I want to thank President Schovanec and Board of Directors, the presidents and chancellors of the other institutions in the Big 12 for having confidence in us. I want to thank Commissioner Bowlsby, who indicated that this has been a different kind of process than in 2016, but it was in 2016 and as a result of conversations then, in our interaction that we develop a level of mutual trust and understanding, that allowed this to be a relatively quick but thorough process, and we're grateful for that.
I also want to express my appreciation to the West Coast Conference and the member institutions there. 10 years ago, they took us in and have provided a wonderful home for us since that time for most of our sports. BYU is a better place academically, athletically and spiritually, because of our interaction with the members of the West Coast Conference, and we want to thank them for that, and hope that even as we transition through this, our relationship will continue on in various ways from there.
Finally, I want to thank all those at BYU who have made this possible. Starting with the players and the coaches, past and present, who over decades have created the kind of program that is capable of competing at a national level, which we now have the opportunity to do.
I also want to thank the administrators both, both university and athletic administrators, including Brian Santiago and Liz Darger, Matt Richardson and Keith Vorkink, for creating an environment in which athletics can thrive at BYU as an integral and fully-integrated part of the university, carrying out its unique role at this unique university.
But most of all, I want to express my deep appreciation for our athletic director Tom Holmoe. None of this would have happened without Tom Holmoe. His integrity, his enthusiasm for BYU athletics and college athletics in general, his evident love for the student athletes, and his embodiment of the values of BYU have all created relationships throughout the country that we are benefiting from today. Moments like this happen because of people like Tom Holmoe, so thank you, Tom.
We're excited for the future, we're excited to move forward with the Big 12 and we're excited for a game tomorrow night, and I'll just leave that at Go Cougars."
BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe Opening Statement
Congratulations, Cougar Nation. It’s been a long time coming, and here we are.
I'd like to thank the Big 12 Conference for extending an invitation to BYU, to join 11 other universities in a partnership where we pledge to give our very best to, our all. I feel extremely grateful for the West Coast Conference, who 10 years ago, made it possible for us to partner with them in our Olympic sports and helped us set sail as an independent in football.
We still have a long way to go. But that's where it all started. It wasn't all rough. Along the way, we enjoyed some incredible views, some great times, and many, many still ahead.
Ten years ago, we charted a new course, on our journey, a new way forward. It was during those years that BYU was able to learn and to grow and to change in the WCC and as an independent in football.
We are thrilled to be joining the Big 12.
Cougar nation, we didn’t reach our destination today. The journey will still continue. Together as the Big 12, all our schools will continue to press forward, doing the small and simple things that it takes to bring all 12 of us to this point.
I appreciate the blood, sweat and tears of so many of the great Cougar athletic alumni and coaches, whose loyal, strong and true devotion for many decades have made this announcement today possible.
This isn’t just from a few years ago. This goes back decades with Krešimir Ćosić, Elaine Michaelis, Danny Ainge, Lavell Edwards, Dylann Duncan, Ty Detmer, Tina Gunn, Glenn Tuckett and thousands more making this possible. Not just the athletes and the coaches, but all of you, Cougar Nation. You know who you are. You know what you’ve done to bring us to this point today. You have paved the way. Success is a journey, not a destination. Cougar Nation, it’s time to continue forward.
NEWS CONFERENCE Q&A RESPONSES
Bowlsby on Big 12 financial situation
"Obviously, the media environment is changing rapidly with the migration to streaming and digital distribution is gaining speed if anything, and at the same time the deterioration of the cable bundle is evident, and doesn't seem to be abating. So we're in a very much changing environment.
We have attempted to add the very best, and you can put it in a recruiting [context], the very best athletes that we possibly could. That certainly is emblematic of BYU and the history and success that the university has had and that the athletics program has had.
In adding four members that we have, we will gain as much as we could possibly gain on the football field. We will arguably be the best basketball conference in the country. We will be a force to be reckoned with in a wide variety of Olympic sports.
It's not a time when I could sit here and forecast that it's going to be worth this much more or this much less. That isn't the nature of it. I think live sports is always going to be a valuable commodity. If you have live sports with competition among the very best universities that you can put together in an alliance, you have a chance to go forward and do good things. That's what we expect from ourselves. That's what we will take into the early years of competition and that's what we'll take into the marketplace when it's time in 24 to begin talking with our media partners and others that may have interest in the inventory. We went into this trying to align ourselves with the very best universities, and the very best athletics programs that we can. We don't have any control over the changing environment in which we operate. But we think we can do a lot to position ourselves, and the addition of Brigham Young University certainly is a huge building block in that process."
Holmoe on the Big 12 Financial Situation
"We've had conversations with the Big 12 between BYU on the finances, and we like the deal that goes from now until the time runs out, and we realize that the changing landscape in college athletics will probably be different in a couple years, and certainly on the broadcast side. We're going into this confident that we can make this happen. I will say from the perspective of BYU, it might be a little bit different. A very good friend of mine and mentor taught me quite a while ago, the money, the financial part in athletics, can't be the number one thing. I get it, and everyone gets that we need that capital. We need the funds to survive. But if it's the number one thing, then you're going to lose track of your student-athletes, your coaches and the things that really count the most. There'll be plenty of money in this conference, and we didn't have the money that a lot of the conferences had coming up to this point, and we realized that as a coaching staff and as players, we do our best and focus our attention on the things that matter most. And then somehow you just are able to make money. Those things happen. So that's where all the people focus."
Holmoe on opponents to play
"Starting today, we'll start to work on that. We'll have to unwind some of those contracts. It's important that everybody understands that with each contract that we did, from the time we became an independent, there was a clause in it that said that in the event we leave to join another conference that there would be some type of a deal to work it out. Most schools in this day and age are looking for that protection to play the game, so it's protected for us and protection for them. A lot of these are going to unwind pretty easily, because they're far enough out, and the ones that are short term, obviously next year we'll be able to play our entire schedule, and the year after that, it starts getting a little bit more even. So for the next couple of years, if you look at things that are happening with the SEC and American and a number of different conferences, you're going to see more games become available. Prior to this last movement, there weren't very many games out there. You couldn't get a game, if you didn't have it locked in, in the next, say two or three years, and that's why people are putting, you know, ‘we were doing games that would go out into 2030s’ and such. Those games I think we'll be able to unwind. People will want to get out of some. We’ll want to get out of some, but we're going to want to keep some of these games that we've contracted. There'll be a conversation between me and Kalani to determine whether or not we want to keep some of those games as non-conference games. Certainly some of them we will and others will naturally go away."
Schovanec on the process of expanding the Big 12
"Bob said earlier that in this process, we were looking for the best universities with the best athletic programs, and with those criteria you quickly focus on certain institutions. It was a very easy decision to come to the point where we are today. BYU also fits in ways that complement our athletic strengths as well as our athletic programs, so this was a very clear and relatively easy decision for the eight continuing members of the Big 12."
Bowlsby on the process of expanding the Big 12
"I completely agree with Lawrence's assessment on this, and I would just simply add that I have felt very well supported in our conversations with institutions that have reached out and contacted us. I felt like the board was well positioned and well aligned to empower me to go and have conversations with President Worthen, Tom and others. You can sometimes have situations where a board wants to be involved in every little decision that is made or every question that needs to be asked and I felt like I was given broad latitude to go out and have the conversations and report back. And to be clear, we didn't contact anyone. We were contacted by these institutions but we did have subsequent conversations and needed to get into some of the detailed discussions. I felt like I had every bit of latitude that I needed to do that, and I was expected to, and I did report back on a regular basis. It was a good process, and I have felt very good about the Big 12 board over time. I think President Worthen and the other CEOs will enjoy working with President Schovanec and the other members of our board. It's a good situation for me as the commissioner, but sometimes you don't know that until such time as you really get into a special circumstance and you need to go out and really perform under difficult circumstances. To have an unsupportive board or a fractured board would have made this process much more difficult. That was exactly the opposite of what we had. We had a very supportive and very much aligned board, and in the end, it really wasn't a difficult decision to decide which four we wanted to move ahead on."
Holmoe on Big 12 and all BYU teams
"All of our teams play sports that the Big 12 carries, except for men's volleyball. Men's volleyball is a member of the MPSF — Mountain Pacific Sports Federation — and has been for a long time. Same thing was true in the Mountain West Conference and the West Coast Conference. So no real change for Shawn [Olmstead] and his group, but the rest of our teams will be able to move into total play with the Big 12, beginning in two years."
Bowlsby on BYU’s Sunday-Play Policy
"I wouldn't call it a concern. I would call it a consideration. We had very open and frank discussions about it. Everybody has their eyes wide open, and we understand that there are scheduling considerations that are going to have to be taken into account. Like all of our members, some are in remote locations, some have more difficult transportation issues than others, and some are a longer ways away. Those are all things that you think about as you consider institutions, and even as you work together within your league, that is something that is baked in, and we don’t feel like it was going to be an issue."
BYU Football Head Coach Kalani Sitake on BYU SportsNation
On BYU joining the Big 12
"I’m feeling so good. I’m really thankful and have a lot of appreciation for everyone that made it happen. I also want to recognize the best fanbase in the world, and that’s Cougar nation. I’m so happy for all of you.
I just want to express my appreciation to our fan base. They were awesome for us last week in Vegas, and they’re gonna be awesome for us [against Utah]. Congratulations, you're in the Big 12. I’m really thankful that we get to do it as a group and as an athletic department, with all of the wonderful coaches and athletes that we have.
Before I was a coach or a football player at BYU, I was always a fan. I’m so happy for the fanbase."
On what joining the Big 12 does for BYU Football
"I think we’ve already had a Power 5 type of schedule. We’re really excited about the opportunity we have to play against some good teams. Now it’s about having consistency in knowing who we’re going to play ahead of time. I’m grateful that we have a great athletic director to help us ease into the transition."
On the impact on recruiting
"I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘if only you were in a P5.’ Well, now we are. It allows us to get the kids that probably should have come to BYU from the very beginning."