BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe answered questions during his semi-annual address to local and state media on Jan. 29 in the Marriott Center.
Questions ranged from a potential contract extension for Kalani Sitake to the sanctions handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball team. Holmoe began his address to the media highlighting the 2019 football schedule.
“I’m really excited about it. I’m really happy that we have a football coach and players that feel good about a schedule like that,” Holmoe said. It’s always difficult to put together an independent schedule where you’re really putting together 12 teams each year instead of two non-conference foes.”
From a financial standpoint, the 2019 football schedule has already garnered an increase in ticket sales when compared to the 2018 campaign.
“Based on where we were at the end of last year’s selling season, we’ve surpassed already,” Holmoe said.
In addition to the newly announced football schedule, coach Sitake’s contract was a main point of discussion in Holmoe’s address.
“This isn’t his last year,” Holmoe said. “I know exactly where he stands. He knows exactly where I stand.”
Rounding out the questions regarding football, Holmoe commented on the performance of Zach Wilson. The freshman came into the season as the Cougars’ second-string quarterback behind senior Tanner Mangum but was named as the starting quarterback in week seven after a 45-20 loss to in-state rival Utah State.
“I think the future is really bright for him,” Holmoe said. “It’s still a young team but it’s a good young team. He’s one of the young leaders that will be one of the key stakeholders on that team determining how well they do.”
Stepping away from the topic of football, Holmoe spoke about the NCAA sanctions that were handed to the men’s basketball team in March. The NCAA placed the men’s basketball team on two-year probation and is forcing BYU to vacate 47 wins. These sanctions came after the NCAA discovered Nick Emery received more than $12,000 of improper benefits from boosters, including paid travel to concerts and an amusement park, as well as the use of a new car.
“The appeal process, I’m glad that we have it. It’s kind of a long process where not a lot is occurring at this time,” Holmoe said. “We’ll have our time where we’ll have our voice and I feel really good where it is.”
Holmoe said BYU’s main appeal BYU argues the vacation of wins against the men’s basketball team felt like an improper decision given the case the NCAA has against the university.
“That was the main thing, the vacation of the wins didn’t feel like it was an accurate adjudication based on the case and that’s the appeal,” Holmoe said.
When asked about BYU’s tough admission standards, Holmoe said though the admission standard to the university is high, not all recruits are held to that standard.
“It’s already been lowered to admit a number of student athletes in most of our programs,” Holmoe said. “It’s an extraordinary school with great standards. I’m grateful that they give us the opportunity to bring in kids that are below a certain level.”
Rounding out the most noteworthy points of the press conference was a question regarding any potential moves into a conference for BYU football.
“It really comes down to some of the schools at the top of the conferences determining what they’re going to do, where they want to be and what they see their future like,” Holmoe said. “It’s a market-driven organization.”