During the turmoil of conference realignment, both BYU and the Big 12 flirted with the Cougars joining the conference in 2011. Instead, the Big 12 invited TCU and West Virginia, and closed its doors at 10 members, while BYU went on to become an independent.
But BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall is now making a case for the Cougars' inclusion into the Big 12.
"We would love to be in the Big 12," Mendenhall told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. "I would love to be a member of that conference. I think that would make a lot of sense."
BYU suddenly has plenty of motivation to join a conference. The ACC and SEC excluded BYU from their power five no-conference scheduling mandate, which could make it difficult for the independent Cougars to fill out their football schedule. Also, if the power-five conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) gain autonomy from the NCAA, BYU could get even further left behind.
Mendenhall said if the Big 12 became interested in expanding, BYU would have plenty to offer.
"Our attendance is high enough. And our winning percentage is high enough," Mendenhall told the newspaper. "We have the entire Salt Lake City and Utah market as well as a worldwide following because of the church. There'd be a ton to offer the Big 12 because it's a money-generated world right now. You're talking about an amazing kind of brand."
However, the American-Statesman, citing two sources, reported that the idea of adding BYU has little support among Big 12 officials. Last week at its annual spring meetings, the Big 12 also announced a record $220.1 million in distribution revenue.