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BYU's Religious Roots Make Move to WCC Easier

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Here's something you don't hear all the time. The West Coast Conference actually considered BYU's religious affiliation to be a positive instead not a turn-off.

Brigham Young University, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said it would leave the Mountain West Conference and place the majority of its sports, minus football, in the WCC. The school's football team is going independent.

Gonzaga Athletic Director Mike Roth said on a radio show in Spokane on Tuesday that "BYU, being faith-based, made it even easier." He said the school fits in well with the rest of the conference, all of which are private institutions. Of the eight existing members of the conference, seven are connected to the Catholic church. Pepperdine is affiliated with the Church of Christ.

Roth also said fans shouldn't be waiting for the conference to add a tenth team, meaning schools like Denver or Seattle probably wouldn't be added to the fold anytime soon.

"I believe when you try to make things better, sometimes you have to change some things to make them better," Roth told KGA radio. "We don't have any additional plans to expand, but we'll continue to monitor what's going on out there."

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