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BYUTES?: THERE ARE INDICATIONS THAT ANY CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT WILL INVOLVE BYU AND UTAH IN A PACKAGE DEAL

It's beginning to look like it may be a package deal.

BYU-Utah. Utah-BYU.You get the feeling, anyway, that's what the administrations at both schools would like should either or both become involved in conference realignments.

When comments by Thomas C. Hansen, commissioner of the Pac-10 regarding expansion were passed on to BYU President Rex E. Lee two weeks ago, Lee quickly asked, "What about Utah. Did he say anything about Utah?"

And Tuesday night, University of Utah President Chase N. Peterson when responding to questions about expansion, talked about the tradition the two schools have maintained.

Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill in talking about expansion included both schools in his comments. "Really, what's right for BYU-Utah? You've got to be careful with your neighbor."

Blaine Newnham, columnist for the Seattle Times who has known Hansen for a number of years, since Hansen used to be at the University of Washington before he became Pac-10 commissioner, thinks adding both BYU and Utah makes a lot of sense.

"I think you look for groupings of schools, the TV markets and academics. Having two basketball games in Utah makes sense."

Regarding Utah's football stadium, he said, "I do think they'd have to expand their stadium at some point."

He also senses in his talks with Hansen that the Pac-10 isn't really anxious to add schools but that "I don't think the Pac-10 wants to be caught looking" while other conferences expand.

What could be in BYU and Utah's favor Pac-10 wise is that both schools are being mentioned by the Big Eight, he said.

The Pac-10 may have to ask itself this question, he said: "Once the dominoes start falling, do we want to go after BYU and Utah or let the Big Eight get them?"

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BYU Athletic Director Glen Tuckett, who has been to many meetings with college presidents and athletic directors recently, has changed his mind about the seriousness of realignment.

"A month ago I thought it was all a pipe dream," he said Tuesday night. But conversations at the College Football Association's convention in Dallas earlier this month convinced him otherwise.

"There's movement out there . . . For anyone to survive, especially in our geography, you've got to be visionary and have long-range goals . . . You just can't sit back and watch."

If San Diego State leaves the Western Athletic Conference, which it is trying to do, then the WAC will only have 4 percent of the television market, Tuckett said.