After seven consecutive appearances in the Holiday Bowl, the BYU Cougars will definitely not appear in the 1985 game.
Monday, the Holiday Bowl committee announced that the game has been switched from the traditional Friday night before Christmas to Sunday, Dec. 22 at 5 p.m.
BYU, the 1984 national champions, cannot play on Sunday because of the school’s Mormon religious convictions.
“There will be no exceptions,” said Dave Schulthess, BYU sports information director.
The Holiday Bowl committee also announced that the Western Athletic Conference champion will not be obligated to play in the 1985 or 1988 games. A WAC team could be selected for the game, but two at-large teams will be eligible to be chosen for the first time in the bowl’s history.
In 1986, ’87 and ’89, the WAC champion will be obligated to go to the Holiday Bowl.
From 1991 through 1996, the Holiday Bowl has agreed to invite a WAC team, although not necessarily the champion, for at least two of the six years.
The change in date was made primarily to accommodate Lorimar Sports Network, which signed a three-year agreement to broadcast the game. Lorimar is a Dallas network that produces the serial “Dallas.” However, the Holiday Bowl has an option to sign with a major network after this year’s game.
By playing at a later date, the committee also hopes to attract teams who could not participate in the past because of conflicts with final exam schedules. The committee hopes that by being the only bowl game played on Dec. 22, it will have the night football television market to itself.
The substantial increase in television revenue and the raising of ticket prices to $20 have enabled the Holiday Bowl committee to guarantee the teams $650,000 apiece for the 1985 game. If the committee is able to attract the kind of sponsor it is actively seeking, it says it will raise the total to $750,000. Last year’s teams received $502,000 each.
“One reason we were in favor of it is that last year BYU could have gone to a bowl and brought in the neighborhood of $1.2 million dollars to the conference,” said San Diego State athletic director Mary Alice Hill.
John Reid, the executive director of the Holiday Bowl, stressed the cooperation between the WAC and the committee.
“They went along with what we thought we needed to keep interest here at a feverish pitch,” Reid said, “and also pique the interest of the TV entities. “