Checking in on the latest conference re-re-realignment talk from Utah, the current word is that BYUis still intent on going independent in football but is looking more and more like a candidate to move to the WCC in basketball and all other sports. Yes, you read that right. The West Coast Conference, the tightly-knit eight-team conference of tiny private religious institutions that max out at nearly 9,000 students (Loyola Marymount and San Francisco, whereas BYU at 33,000 students is nearly four times that enrollment) and has remained at eight teams for three decades. Andy Katz makes the case that this move makes sense in basketball, and we can’t really argue with his logic, except for one little thing — you know what makes more sense? Staying in the Mountain West, where, with recent additions of Nevada and Fresno State to go with San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico, the league is on the verge of overtaking the Pac-10 for hoops superiority out west. We should know something very soon — the deadline for BYU to leave the Mountain West is Wednesday.
Getting back to the conference that BYU originally threatened to move to prior to its implosion, the WAC, feeling jilted and unloved after Nevada and Fresno State’s unceremonious dumping earlier this month, is threatening to sue the two schools if each refuses to pay a disputed $5M exit fee each by the October 25 deadline. Furthermore, the WAC says that they have the contractual right to not release the two renegades until after the 2011-12 academic year, an interesting assertion given that Fresno and Nevada’s stated positions are that they’re leaving next summer. This is going to get more interesting before it dies down, because there’s no question that this particular tussle has gotten personal among key players at some of these schools.
Jeff Jacobs, a UConn columnist at the Hartford Courant, suggests that Ater Majok’s presumed leaving of the program has nothing to do with impending sanctions that may have involved his recruitment, as we wrote could be possible yesterday. But in the same paragraph, he also says that there have been “whispers” in the program involving Majok, so we’re not sure what to believe here. UConn is expected to announce its response to the NCAA’s allegations later this week.
Austin Rivers is the #1 prospect in the Class of 2011, according to Rivals, and he showed the skill that he possesses in a recent summer league game where he crossed over and scored on #1 pick John Wall, followed by ripping him clean on defense on the other end. One blogger makes a reasonable case as to why Rivers will end up playing for Coach K at Duke in the fall of 2011.