BYU has formally notified the Big 12 of its interest in joining the conference and would be open to discussing a football-only option to get into the league, Cougars athletic director Tom Holmoe told ESPN.com.
Holmoe said, however, that full membership with the Big 12 would be BYU's goal.
"We're obviously open to listening to what they want to do," said Holmoe, whose school has been an independent since 2011. "We're going to go through this process with an open mind to listen to what they have to say."
Because of its connection with the Mormon church, BYU does not play games on Sundays. That has created questions within the Big 12 as to whether the conference could make full membership work with the Cougars, should the league elect to offer BYU an invitation.
The Big 12 stages several games in non-football sports on Sundays, notably soccer and baseball. The league also plays several of its non-football championships on Sundays.
Shortly after the Big 12 announced Tuesday that it would be exploring expansion candidates, commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league would consider football-only options, though it wouldn't be the league's preferred route.
Holmoe, however, said he believes BYU's no-Sunday rule can be resolved with the Big 12.
"I believe that's something that can be worked out," he said. "We've been in a lot of leagues through the years, and we've been able to work it out.
"There would be a difference in the Big 12 because that would be a Power 5 conference. They're going to ask questions. We'll have our solutions, creative ideas of what we can do. We're going to do everything we can."
Holmoe added that BYU would be willing to take partial distribution initially to join the Big 12 as well.
Though University of Texas president Greg Fenves endorsed the University of Houston as an expansion candidate Thursday, Holmoe said he believes BYU has a compelling case to make to the Big 12.
"The criteria they list fit us well," he said. "We feel very confident in what BYU is."