Summarized by Kent Larsen
New MWC Schedule Has BYU Playing Mondays
Salt Lake Tribune 7Jun00 S3
By Phil Miller: Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY -- The league voted and now BYU will play basketball
on Monday nights. Breaking a long-standing aversion, the university
will participate in the Mountain West Conference's schedule, which
will shift next season from a mainly Thursday-Saturday format to a
Saturday-Monday format. The Conference announced the change Tuesday,
saying that the change was meant to accommodate ESPN's nationally
televised Big Monday late game and address problems with the schedule
that many coaches called unfair.
BYU has always prohibited athletic competition or practice on Sundays
and discouraged on-campus events Monday evenings to allow Church
members to participate in Family Home Evening. BYU was willing to
participate in the schedule because the Monday night games don't
start until 10 p.m.
The Cougars played on a Monday for the first time last March, in a 9
p.m. National Invitation Tournament game against Southern Illinois.
Attendance was 17,000 and the crowd was much more raucous than usual,
"That game opened some eyes, with ESPN and within the community,"
said BYU Coach Steve Cleveland. "I'm excited to give our fans that
opportunity. Students love games like that."
But the new schedule has a downside for the Cougars because they
still can't practice on Sundays. "We can have team meetings and
discuss some things, but that's about the extent of it," Cleveland
said. Still, Cleveland says that the schedule will be better than
last season, because the Cougars never faced an opponent that had
played two days earlier. "It's not a perfect situation for us, but
we'll figure out some way to work with it," Cleveland said. "The
majority of coaches in our league liked Saturday-Monday, and we can
live with it."