BYU football coaches and players converged at the school’s state-of-the-art broadcasting building Friday for the program’s 2017 media day, and athletic director Tom Holmoe had plenty of announcements.
In 2010, BYU announced an eight-year contract with ESPN to broadcast its home football games on ESPN networks. Holmoe announced the agreement will now include a ninth year, the 2019 season, as ESPN has exercised its option to extend those broadcast rights.
“We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with ESPN for decades and that relationship seems to get stronger every year,” Holmoe said. “There is great collaboration and I feel really good about what we are doing together.”
In the last six seasons, BYU has played 32 of 37 home football games and 58 of all 78 games on ESPN networks.
“BYU plays an important role in ESPN's college football portfolio, having aired its games for more than 32 years,” ESPN vice president Nick Dawson said.
BYU is scheduled to host USC, Washington, Utah and Boise State in Provo during the 2019 season.
Bowl free agency
Since BYU’s first independent season in 2011, the school has inked a deal directly with a variety of bowl games in which the Cougars appeared. Friday, Holmoe said 2017 would be different.
BYU will not directly contract with a bowl game for the coming season. Instead, as long as they’re bowl-eligible, ESPN will slot them in the best matchup to fit the Cougars. ESPN owns 14 of the FBS-level’s 40 bowl games.
LaVell Edwards honored
BYU revealed a new uniform patch depicting the silhouette of late coach LaVell Edwards also bearing the word “LAVELL” that the team will wear during the 2017 season. Edwards died in December 2016 at 86 years old.
Edwards coached BYU for 29 seasons (1972-2000), winning an all-time seventh-most games (257) and the 1984 national championship. He’s often credited as a godfather to college football’s modern passing game.
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No. 6 jersey retired
The school also announced its plans to retire jersey No. 6 at halftime of the Sept. 16 home game against Wisconsin.
No. 6 was worn by quarterbacks Marc Wilson (1977-79) and Robbie Bosco (1983-85), and running back Luke Staley (1999-2001).
Wilson threw for 7,637 yards and 61 touchdowns, leading BYU to WAC titles in three straight years, and played 11 seasons in the NFL, including winning Super Bowl titles with the Oakland Raiders (1981) and Los Angeles Raiders (1984).
Bosco quarterbacked BYU to the 1984 national championship and was 24-3 as a starter, and was an All-American in 1984 and 1985.
Staley rushed for 8.1 yards per carry and tallied 15.5 points per game in 2001, winning the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back and leading BYU to a 12-0 record before a devastating leg injury ended his season. He rushed for 24 touchdowns and was a consensus All-American in 2001.
No. 6 becomes the sixth jersey number retired for BYU football, joining No. 8 (Steve Young), No. 9 (Jim McMahon), No. 14 (Gifford Nielsen and Ty Detmer), No. 40 (Eldon Fortie) and No. 81 (Marion Probert).