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Big East ends negotiations to add BYU for football

Brigham Young won't be part of the Big East's westward expansion.

Negotiations between the rebuilding conference and BYU have broken off, the Associated Press reported, with television rights being the sticking point.

The Big East was trying to add BYU as part of its plan to expand westward and become a 12-team football league. According to AP, BYU wanted to retain the rights to home football games, and the league could not agree to that.

No other school in a major conference has such a deal.

BYU athletic department spokesman Brett Pyne said in an e-mail that school officials declined a request for comment.

BYU, in Provo, Utah, left the Mountain West Conference after last season, entered the West Coast Conference for all other sports besides football and struck an 8-year-deal with ESPN.

The Big 12 had courted BYU this year when it was looking to replace Texas A&M and later Missouri, but working out a television agreement prevented a deal. The Big East ultimately ran into the same problem as it tried to persuade the school to become a football-only member.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto had been talking to BYU about joining the league for weeks. But the school's desire to retain the TV rights to its home games did not come up until late in the discussions, AP reported. reported Tuesday that San Diego State of the Mountain West is the Big East's next western target.

The negotiations with BYU have held up the Big East's expansion plans. The league for weeks has been courting Boise State, Air Force and Navy as football-only members, and Conference USA schools SMU, Houston and Central Florida to join in all sports.

Boise State and Air Force play in the MWC. Navy is a football independent.

The move west for the Big East was prompted by the announced departures of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the Atlantic Coast Conference in September.

Then West Virginia announced late last month that it was ditching the Big East for the Big 12, leaving the Big East with five long-term football members and opening another spot.

Big East ends negotiations to add BYU for football 11/22/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 2:30pm]
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