Sept. 1, 2010
LOGAN, Utah -
Dear Aggie Faithful,
This is a follow up to my letter dated August 19. I want to take this opportunity to communicate further regarding athletic conference alignment issues and our current position.
A press release was issued today by the Western Athletic Conference regarding the future football scheduling agreement with Brigham Young University and that release can be found here.
Utah State has elected not to participate in this agreement in as much as we already have a three-game series with BYU that extends through 2012. This existing game contract was signed in 2007. Opting out of the WAC agreement allows us to retain the flexibility we desire at this time. Discussion with BYU for a new home-and-home series in football, men's basketball and many of our sports is ongoing.
There is some level of confusion regarding the last minute communication the Mountain West Conference had with Utah State, Fresno State and Nevada. Let me reiterate what I said to you in my earlier letter. USU did not receive an offer to join the MWC, rather we received and inquiry of interest. There is a considerable difference between the two. However, we would have absolutely made the same decision again either way.
I am disappointed that BYU didn't move forward in entering an agreement with the WAC in all sports, regardless of the league's reduction in membership. The four WAC institutions receiving bids to last year's NCAA men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball tournaments remain and the WAC will continue to be competitive in other sports. Eventual new members could have created additional value for the WAC and BYU.
A press release was recently issued by the WAC regarding Fresno State and Nevada's departure and that release can be found here.
WAC bylaws clearly state that Fresno State and Nevada must remain in the WAC through the 2011-12 season because they failed to announce their departure by the June 30th deadline. Their participation through 2011-2012 is critical. Not doing so would create significant financial and scheduling liability for all current WAC members. The participation of Fresno State and Nevada through 2011-2012 affords USU and the WAC valuable time to evaluate potential movement across the national landscape that might be of benefit in creating new opportunities.
Our charge is to provide our nearly 350 student-athletes and coaches with the very best possible opportunity for a quality competitive experience. Given the potential on-going shift in the national landscape, the WAC and Utah State University must continue to position themselves for the very best possible opportunities. We will work with a continued sense of urgency to do so. That said, potential options may not avail themselves immediately or even in the next several months.
In the meantime, we must stay vigilant in improving our value as a competitive Football Bowl Subdivision athletic program. Our focus continues to be on investing in an improved football program under Gary Andersen's leadership, maintaining the level of excellence Stew Morrill has brought to our men's basketball program; Gregg Gensel has brought to our cross country and track programs and Heather Cairns has brought to our women's soccer program, along with continued progress in all of our sports. Increased national, regional and local television exposure over the next year will serve as an excellent platform to showcase our programs.
A press release was also issued by the WAC today regarding the establishment of a membership committee and that release can be found here.
With that said, increased attendance at our home football contests is another important step we must take this year and in the future.
I look forward to seeing you at our home opener on September 11th at Merlin Olsen Field in Romney Stadium at 6 p.m.
S. Scott Barnes Director of Athletics
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