Tom Holmoe talks Sitake extension, NCAA sanctions and ESPN contract

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PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe gave his semi-annual “State of the Cougars” address to the media Wednesday, and discussed a variety of topics.

First up, why hasn’t Kalani Sitake been signed to a contract extension? His current deal is up after the 2020 season, and Holmoe says it’s too early right now.

“This isn’t his last year, and we’ve rarely gone into the last year of a contract,” Holmoe said. “We talk all the time. So, I know exactly where he stands and he knows exactly where I stand.”

Despite no extension offer yet, Holmoe said he very happy how the Cougars went from four wins in 2017 to seven victories last year.

“We made progress,” Holmoe said. “It was very good, we had a difficult season the year before. Certainly there are many areas to be excited about. There are certain areas where we still need to continue to show growth and development.”

BYU released its 2019 football schedule on Wednesday, and the Cougars are the only team in the nation to play four Power-5 schools in their first four games of the season. BYU opens the year with Utah, Tennessee, USC and Washington.

“I’m really excited about it,” Holmoe said. “If you were to take each one of those teams at their very best, it would be wicked. But I don’t know if each one of those teams is at their best in their history right now, including BYU. So, I think that we have a really good shot to win a large number of games next year.”

Holmoe hopes to hear sometime this year about BYU’s appeal of the NCAA sanctions on the basketball program in which they had to vacate some 47 victories because Nick Emery accepted improper benefits from a booster.

“We’re just waiting our time,” Holmoe. “The appeal process, I’m glad that we have it. I’m looking forward to it, and I feel very good about where it is and what will happen at that time.”

BYU’s contract with ESPN expires this year, but the school is in negotiations for a new deal. BYU is set to play in the Hawaii Bowl this coming season if they are bowl eligible, but nothing is set beyond that.

“We’ve had a number of potential bowls contact us and say they want to create a bowl where we would be the anchor team,” Holmoe said. “Interesting thought, but being with ESPN, that would be something that they would determine.”

Holmoe said the late start times on ESPN football and basketball games is also out of his control.

“We’re in this dilemma now where the broadcast entities are paying teams a lot of money for their services,” he said. “So you’re going to play when they tell you.”

Holmoe doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be the athletic director, but he loves hearing from fans, as frustrated as they might be.

“I love it that people are passionate about what we do,” he said. “If we don’t have passion, then we’re in deep trouble.”

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