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UH-BYU rivalry still on hold

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Brigham Young University would replace Boise State on the University of Hawaii’s 2011 football schedule, opening the way for a 10-year home-and-home series, under terms of an alliance agreement between the Western Athletic Conference and the Cougars that has been left hanging.

A draft copy of the memorandum of understanding between the WAC and BYU was obtained by the Star-Advertiser, but consummation of the deal remains in jeopardy in the wake of the defection of Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West Conference.

BYU has not announced whether it will go through with the agreement, negotiate a new one, remain in the Mountain West or move elsewhere. An announcement could come as soon as this week.

BYU, which UH once viewed as its chief rival, has not played the Warriors since 2002. They have met 27 times since 1930.

Acceptance of the deal had been delayed by Fresno State’s insistence that BYU negotiate a separate agreement guaranteeing the Bulldogs a minimum number of football games as well. It was said to have been an element of Fresno State’s acceptance of a solidarity agreement binding WAC members to stay together for five years or pay a $5 million withdrawal fee.

BYU, according to a memo circulated among WAC members, had agreed to play the Bulldogs four times between 2011 and ’16, which Fresno State accepted.

BYU had sought a solidarity pledge, which Fresno and at least six other members, including UH, had agreed to. But the Bulldogs’ subsequent acceptance of membership in the Mountain West leaves the rest of the agreement hanging.

Under the terms, BYU would become a WAC member in all sports except football. It would pay the same membership fees and have a vote on the WAC Board of Directors in football matters.

BYU would be eligible to play in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in years in which UH was not bowl eligible if the Cougars had a better record than the third-place WAC team.

In addition, BYU would play four to six WAC opponents each year in football. Home-and-home series would include UH and Utah State as opponents for BYU.

UH and BYU were previously scheduled for 2012 and ’13 and, combined with the new agreement, would have a home-and-home series through at least 2016 and possibly 2020.

UH has been seeking a 2011 opponent to replace Boise State, which enters the Mountain West that year.

 

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