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Boise State having second thoughts on Big East move?

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The rumors and speculation and whispers have been there for months, that Boise State, and San Diego State as well, was reconsidering its planned move from the Mountain West to the Big East.

Finally, there’s some definitive fire to go along with the smoke.

BSU is scheduled to join the Big East on July 1 of this year, but has yet to officially notify its current conference, the Mountain West, of its intent to withdraw,‘s Brett McMurphy reported Friday morning.  Additionally, McMurphy writes, “Mountain West representatives met with Boise State officials earlier this week to persuade the Broncos to remain in the MWC.”

The university has until June 30 to officially notify the MWC of its intent to leave.  A contract BSU has already signed with the Big East states that the school would owe a $5 million exit fee if it “leaves” the Big East before July 1, a $10 million exit fee if it left on or after that date.

It’s believed that at least part of the MWC’s recent discussions with Boise entailed how the conference could help pay the $5 million exit fee.

It appears there are at least three reasons why Boise State is having second thoughts about a move to the Big East.

  • The biggest reason for that, one could argue, is the demise of the WAC.  With Boise’s football program moving to the Big East, all of the university’s non-football sports would be moving from the MWC to the WAC.  If the WAC ceases to exist — that’s a very real possibility — BSU would need to find another conference home for its other sports.  The MWC has already stated that it will not allow Boise to move its football program to the Big East while keeping its other sports in its current home.
  • With talk of eliminating automatic qualifying bids for the six “power conferences” as part of a revamped postseason in major college football, a major impetus for Boise State’s move to the Big East will suddenly be taken away.  The Broncos’ desire to take its football program out of the MWC and into the Big East was based on two reasons and two reasons only: to become a part of an AQ conference and pull in more money as a result.  Speaking of which…
  • The Big East last year reportedly turned down a television deal that would’ve paid all-sports conference members more than $14 million annually — just over $8 million annually for BSU and SDSU as football-only members — with the thought being the league could get even more in the future if it waited.  That was a big factor for Boise, which made in the neighborhood of $3 million annually off the MWC’s deal.  Now, however, it appears as though the Big East may have erred in turning down the original offer as McMurphy writes “the Big East’s new media rights will be worth substantially less than [the] $155 million per year” they could’ve gotten last year.  Less money, therefore, equals less incentive for Boise State to move to a conference two time zones away.

Add up all of the above, and mix in some lesser mitigating factors, and one could make a very compelling case for Boise to stay right where it is, which appears to be exactly what the MWC is attempting to do.  And, it seems, that’s an option to which Boise is more than willing to listen.

The loss of the Broncos would be a significant blow to the Big East.  With the departures of West Virginia (Big 12) and Pittsburgh and Syracuse (ACC) in 2013/14, the Broncos were being counted on to become the flagship program on the football side of the conference.  Losing BSU would very likely have a ripple effect on the Big East that would be extremely detrimental to the future of the conference, football-wise.

Most certainly San Diego State would pull out, as could Louisville.  Prior to McMurphy’s report, there was another from that stated the Cardinals, as has been the case for a handful of months, have made it perfectly clear to the Big East that the school wants to be in either the Big 12 or the ACC.  UConn as well continues to maintain that it wants to be a part of the ACC, although those feelings thus far have not been reciprocated.

Should Boise State opt to bail on the Big East and remain in the MWC, and the expected trickle-down effect takes place, the Big East could very well be left with Cincinnati, Rutgers, UConn and USF as current members, and Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF as members beginning in 2013.  And that’s provided the ACC doesn’t do an about-face on UConn.

In other words, it would be left with a league that’s nothing more than the Big Conference USA East.  Good luck getting major television dollars off that football grouping.

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39 Responses to “Boise State having second thoughts on Big East move?”
  1. coolhorn says: May 11, 2012 10:03 AM

    If I’m SMU and the University of Houston, I’m seriously engaging in talks with C-USA about getting back in that conference, or even contacting the Mountain West and seeing if they’d like to expand some more. Stick a fork in the Big (L)east…they’re cooked.

  2. fcmlefty1 says: May 11, 2012 10:40 AM

    One can definitely make a case both ways. The Big East TV deal, even if it is for lesser money, still will be a TV deal that has eastern time zone exposure that far exceeds the Mountain West. But, of course, that is outweighed possibly by not having a home for virtually every other sport, because right now, only Football and Wrestling can feel somewhat secure.

    Its too bad this all went down the path it did. Because a Mt West that would have added Houston and SMU (and obviously keeps Boise and SDSU), instead of Utah St and San Jose, would have been a pretty decent 12 team conference. Obviously behind the big four, but arguably #5, ahead of both the ACC and Big East.

  3. vegasrobert says: May 11, 2012 10:47 AM

    Personally I want them to wait for the Big XII to expand again. BSU Broncos are too good to end up in Big East.

  4. fcmlefty1 says: May 11, 2012 10:57 AM

    I’d love to see Boise in the Big 12. Not going to hold my breath waiting though….

    Ultimately, I still want to see 4 seperate 16 team conferences. These would be the only 64 teams in Division 1. The rest of them can be there own division. Delaney’s 4 conf champ plan works perfectly from there…..

  5. Bo Darville says: May 11, 2012 11:05 AM

    People aware of geography have to be thrilled by this news.

  6. fcmlefty1 says: May 11, 2012 11:07 AM

    “People aware of geography have to be thrilled by this news.”

    Come on now, SDSU and Boise are both east of Honolulu and Anchorage……

  7. bozosforall says: May 11, 2012 11:08 AM

    fcmlefty1 says:
    May 11, 2012 10:57 AM

    Ultimately, I still want to see 4 seperate 16 team conferences. These would be the only 64 teams in Division 1. The rest of them can be there own division. Delaney’s 4 conf champ plan works perfectly from there…..

    I’d ONLY go for that if YOUR favorite team is left out.

  8. jsmayer181 says: May 11, 2012 11:11 AM

    Louisville may want to leave, but it’s got nowhere to go. I’m sure C-USA would take the Cards back, but is anyone within spitting distance of the KFC Yum! Center really clammoring to go back to what’s just a shadow of a conference it left almost a decade ago? Unless the Big XII nabs Notre Dame then gets desperate for a 12th team, I can’t see Louisville even entering the discussion (remember, it was only when they were desperate to fill Missouri’s role did they even talk about the ‘Ville, and it literally took an Act of (a) Congress(man) to merely have the debate. So the Cardinals best option may be to hang with the Big East to continue to set up its basketball team in an ideal situation and hope whatever new commissioner comes in is able to reenergize the conference and build the football side back up.

  9. JohnCassillo says: May 11, 2012 11:27 AM

    Some additional repercussions:

    -Notre Dame withdraws from Big East, due to increased instability
    -SMU, Houston join SDSU and Boise State in the MWC, since they’d be the western members of a league grouped in Florida and the Northeast
    -Notre Dame heads to ACC, bringing Rutgers along with them
    -Louisville joins Big 12, and Florida State jumps ship there as well
    -ACC adds UConn, to get back to 16
    -BYU rejoins MWC

    … could keep going, but obviously, the ripple effects are pretty far-reaching.

  10. fatediesel says: May 11, 2012 11:51 AM

    In the New York Times this week TV consultant Neal Pilson said he expects the Big East’s new TV contract to come near or exceed the ACC’s new TV contract, so there’s a good chance that Boise could still make the reported $8 million per year. To contrast, the Mountain West’s entire TV deal is only worth $12 million per year total and that deal doesn’t expire until 2016. Unless it appears that the Big East is going to crumble it wouldn’t make much sense for Boise to ditch the Big East at this time and at the very least they should wait until the end of June to make a decision.

  11. ukeone says: May 11, 2012 2:44 PM

    The greatest factor I see as to why a school would want to leave its conference in the first place would be to secure both ‘current and future stability’ for its school’s athletic programs. In other words: $$$money$$$. Why would a school want to jump into a conference whose own stability is in question? Boise St. needs to take a much closer look at what they are getting themselves into and finally lay their foundations where they can make a secure future for themselves. And they have a good enough football program to demand better odds for themselves. The WAC & MWC are too fragile right now to offer that to them. The Big 12 (with its newer structure & new commissioner) could be a better fit for them both in proximity to other schools (sans W. Virginia) & dollar-wise (with their new TV deal). Likewise, Notre Dame and Rutgers stand a much better chance of getting that secure money chest and proximity factor to its fellow schools by joining the B1G (instead of the ACC or Big 12). The B1G is far more stable than those other two conferences (football-wise)…and let’s face it, no one in the B1G is planning on making a ‘mad-dash’ for another conference anytime soon!

  12. Deb says: May 11, 2012 3:18 PM

    Unless they have an opportunity to go into the Pac-12, B1G, SEC, Big 12, or possibly the ACC, it’s wiser for all teams to stand pat in this environment of uncertainty. Of course, BSU’s move to the Big East was already in the works before the playoff developments began. But if the Broncos have the option to back out of this deal, they should stay with the MWC until the new playoff system is decided. That way BSU will be able to make a better-informed decision about the future of all its sports programs.

    As someone who follows only football, I’m not sure of the needs regarding other sports. But it still seems the Big 12 would be a better fit for Boise’s football program than the Big East.

  13. gq2scoops says: May 11, 2012 3:24 PM

    You people are complete morons if you think the B12 is going to invite Boise anytime soon…Academics kinda has something to do with it and Boise doesn’t even compare to the other schools in that conference, not even TCU

  14. halbert53 says: May 11, 2012 3:24 PM

    Boise would be a natural fit in the PAC 12 North. I think ANY team in a football playoff should be required to be a member of a conference (so they can’t cherry pick opponents. Four 16-team super conferences would be nice.

  15. philiplewis1 says: May 11, 2012 3:40 PM

    Boise St joining either Louisville or Fla St would make a really nice addition to the Big 12 to get back to 12 teams and a conference playoff. Secondary sports would have a long way to travel however.

  16. Deb says: May 11, 2012 5:04 PM

    @gq2scoops …

    Well, I just looked up the rankings of public universities to see where Boise fell–not so much for you but for Halbert53, who thinks they’re a fit for the Pac-12. Your comment set me to thinking about academics. The Pac-12 schools are some of the finest educational institutions in the world, so academically, there’s no way BSU would be a fit there.

    You’re a little over-the-top in your estimation of the Big 12. Believe it or not, the SEC has more schools in the top 20 than the Big 12. But the real eye-opener is that BSU isn’t on the list of 111 public universities. Oh, it’s not because Boise isn’t a good school. When I finally found them, they were doing better than average. The problem is that they’re too small and limited in their degree offerings to be on the list of major public universities.

    Ah … there’s the rub. Should BSU be competiting in Division IA? Even after their renovations are completed, their stadium will hold only 50,000. If they join the Big 12, they’ll have to set up home-and-away games with schools that can seat twice that many. From a financial perspective, what’s in it for those schools? Yes, BSU is a winning program–but other than a couple of OOC games, they do not play competitive opponents. And they don’t even offer the level of degree programs to match other schools in the major conferences.

    I’m not saying this solely regarding BSU, but before going further with playoff development and conference realignment, someone needs to rethink which teams play in which leagues.

  17. fcmlefty1 says: May 11, 2012 5:30 PM

    @ deb –

    2 things to consider

    1) Boise State has only been a 4 year school since 1965. It makes sense they’d still lag behind more established schools in program offerings, etc

    2) 50,000 seat stadium – once Bronco Stadium is at 50,000 for capacity, it would be in the same neighborhood as 7 of the 10 current Big 12 schools, or in the same neighborhood as 8 of the 12 PAC 12 schools. This wouldn’t really be an issue. There are a ton of reasons the PAC or Big 12 wouldn’t invite Boise, but stadium size won’t be one of them.

  18. vandalcowboy says: May 11, 2012 6:11 PM


    You are right, you won’t find BSU on the list of Public Universities, but you WILL find University of Idaho. I’ve said this before, but academically BSU is not even the top school in the small state of Idaho. Not even close. I used to think that neither the PAC 12 nor the Big 12 would be interested in diluting the quality of their conference by adding a school with as little to offer as BSU other than a decent football team, but now I’m not so sure. Idaho is faced with the likely possibility of dropping back to the FCS (actually not a bad move for them), primarily because they are in a small (ok, tiny) market and no one wants them. In other words, it now seems to be only about money and if those other conferences think BSU can generate enough, they just might take them. Sad.

    Full disclosure: I’m a proud Idaho grad, so I’m bred to hate BSU. I’m also a proud Okla St. grad and I think the Big 12 can do better. Much better.

  19. reclinerqb says: May 11, 2012 6:43 PM

    I think Boise is realizing that if they leave the MWC they won’t be able to beat up a bunch of high school quality teams on their way to a Top 10 ranking every year while making everybody argue that they deserve a shot at the title (& almost getting it) until they blow a game to some less than respectable team…..while somewhat entertaining I think that Boise, TCU, Utah, Houston, Southern Miss, etc (teams in weak conferences that play weak schedules) are a joke getting ranked & sometimes ranked highly each year with 1 or 0 losses because their competition is subpar….and winning 1 big game a year does not merit a ranking, in my opinion (and yes, I realize I’m going to get hammered here for having this opinion, most likely….but I truly believe it)

  20. coolhorn says: May 11, 2012 7:08 PM

    The Big XII hasn’t decided for sure whether or not to expand, and probably won’t before late summer or early fall. If it does, the Big XII will almost certainly look east, not west, for new members. There are a lot more viable possibilities east than west, and much bigger TV markets that might become available to the Big XII.

    Boise’s best option right now, with the Big (L)east falling to pieces before their eyes, would be to join San Diego State and get back to the Mountain West asap. If they could push for SMU and Houston to be added to that conference, that would be even better.

    Nobody knows how the new four team championship playoff is going to be constituted yet, but if Boise can continue to hover around the top five, as they’ve done for several years, they’d have a good chance of getting into the playoffs, and they’d have a much better schedule in the Mountain West than what’s left of the Big (L)east.

    This is no attempt to knock the Broncos…they’re an impressive football team and have been for a while now. However, I don’t think there’s any chance of them joining up with the Big XII, and to get where they want to go, they don’t need to.

  21. vandalcowboy says: May 11, 2012 7:20 PM


    I don’t disagree at all with what you’ve said, except I don’t think you should have included TCU in that list. TCU has had both good and bad periods over the years, but in general they have a history that is more rich and credible than some of the others you mention, most notably BSU. It has been a long road for TCU to make it back to the big leagues, but as a future member of the Big 12, any success they have should not be suspect.

  22. Deb says: May 11, 2012 7:32 PM

    @fmclefty1 …

    Really? I’m bad about measuring in terms of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, which seats nearly 102,000 and isn’t even the biggest stadium in the SEC. So I tend to think every Div IA stadium is that big :)

    Surprised you’re arguing for BSU, though, considering how picky you are about strength of schedule. Based on your own criteria, the Cowboys wouldn’t qualify.

    @vandalcowboy …

    I talk to so many people on here who refuse to disclose their team and conference affiliation, so you get BIG points with me for claiming your allegiance! Hey, they play some good football in the FCS. Someone needs to set reasonable criteria for competing in Division IA football. It can’t be just that you have a good football team (playing a noncompetitive schedule) and want to be there.

  23. coolhorn says: May 11, 2012 7:40 PM

    A quick note Deb…the SEC added two AAU members by taking in Mizzou and agricultural, while the Big XII lost two AAU members when those two headed over to the confederacy.

    There’s also been some talk that agricultural’s AAU membership might be at some risk because of the reported dilution of academics and research brought on there by reduction of state support of the university. The Texas governor is also trying to get tuition frozen at the University of Texas, but he’s running into some stiff opposition in alleged efforts to get the UT President, William Powers, canned for opposing him. Politics…ain’t it wonderful???

  24. dannygjay says: May 11, 2012 10:04 PM

    Of course Boise will want back in the MWC if they go to conference champs only playoffs. You’ll see alot of teams jumping to crappy conferences.. Roll Tide to the sunbelt.

  25. reclinerqb says: May 11, 2012 10:21 PM


    I agree that TCU is more legit than the likes of Boise & the others, but I still do not believe that they should’ve ever been given serious consideration for a national title shot. I also agree that they will have even more legitimacy by joining “Texas & the Little 10” (Big 12)….yea that’s a lame attempt with a bad joke at taking a shot at the way the Big12 just does anything and everything that Texas wants-they literally OWN that conference….Even though the Big12 is not a top conference in my opinion as 9 out of 10 time it’s won the 4th(?) week of the season when Texas & 0U play-if OSU & any team from the North can become half-ass relevant year in & year out…then maybe. I mean half the time Texas and OU are only ranked because of their history and because one of them HAS to win the “Red River Shootout”, otherwise they (& often times) only play teams like Iowa, Iowa St, KU, UK, Tech, etc.

    And in the spirit of FULL DISCLOSURE, I’m an Arkansas Razorback alum, die-hard fan and stepfather of 2 children that currently attend….I do try to be honest & unbiased in my opinions, especially when dealing with my pure hatred of the NCAA, BCS & undeserving teams w/weak schedules taking spots from deserving teams that may have more losses ONLY because they have tough schedules; Oh, and I hate teams that get ranked, especially highly & especially in the preseason rankings (BTW, preseason rankings are a joke, but my thumbs are getting tired on this iPhone) JUST because of their name & history (I’m especially talking about you Notre Dame, but you are definitely not the only one, see above for other example)….and I own/run a football website for fun but I’m not a journalist & I will admit my biases when I am acting on them, not cause of my site…it’s not big….but I have had some successes’s….but I only do it cause I love football, writing about it and sharing my correct opinions on it….ok I’m gonna stop now cause I’m rambling…..again

  26. Deb says: May 12, 2012 12:32 AM

    @coolhorn …

    My dad and much of my family are from Alabama so I was raised on the Tide. But I’m actually a Mizzou grad. Yes, I told my family how much cache the SEC had picked up by bringing in Mizzou and its AAU membership. Then my brother suggested I check Mizzou’s academic ranking compared to Bama’s. Ouch.

  27. coolhorn says: May 12, 2012 7:41 AM

    LOL…I actually feel a little sorry for TAMU. The school’s AAU standing is being endangered by actions taken by Governor Rick Perry, who by the way, in a previous life, was an aggie yell leader. (Cheer leader for fans of normal schools.)

  28. coolhorn says: May 12, 2012 7:44 AM

    Since you brought up Mizzou…don’t get too used to them being in the SEC. They’ll be outta there if/when the B1G ever warms up to them. Their BOR just sees the SEC as a better parking place than the Big XII until they get a B1G invite, IF they ever get that invite. Otherwise, they have nothing in common with the confederate schools.

  29. reclinerqb says: May 12, 2012 12:01 PM

    I understand the SEC (my conference) adding A&M because it gets a bigger piece of the Texas market, but the Mizzou addition doesn’t seem to make sense in any way, shape or form….I’m sure it has been addresses previously, and I’m just ignorant on the details, but there doesn’t seem to be much market to gain or super following and like most of the realignments geography makes no sense….

  30. Deb says: May 12, 2012 1:46 PM

    Mizzou makes sense for the SEC because of the television markets–St. Louis and KC. Mike Slive is one smart, crafty commish and he calculates everything in terms of the $$$ it will bring to the SEC. Mizzou was a good get for us in that respect. But coolhorn is right. The Tigers would have preferred to go into the B1G.

    The interesting thing is that the B1G chose to ignore the TV markets and a school that was by far academically superior to Nebraska in order to take the Cornhuskers. I think that’s the only team in the B1G that’s not an AAU member, and both culturally and geographically, that addition makes no sense at all. The only possible reason for that addition is some desperate attempt to improve their win/loss record. All I know is that Delany is no Mike Slive.

  31. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: May 12, 2012 5:18 PM

    There you are!! My brother from another mother..

  32. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: May 12, 2012 5:26 PM

    Agreed with u 100% on BSU and preseason ranking …. I remember 2007 when people was screaming for USF and complaining LSU was not NC that year bc they had two lost…, I’m who didn’t that year? Anyway it does get tiresome every year to hear the same garbage from weak weak scheduled, undefeated team like BSU and Hawaii telling everyone why they deserve a chance to dance with the Prom queen… The worst was when a damn US Congress in Utah getting involved in sport, if only they are as passionate about fixing the deficit as they are in sports and filling their bracket, we might be doing alright.

  33. reclinerqb says: May 12, 2012 6:49 PM


    I think I’m in love….

    I rarely meet someone who agrees with me on BSU, Utah, Hawaii, etc…..Everybody says “Give them a chance” and I’m like “What have they done to deserve it?? Beat Nevada, and UTEP, Bowling Green?? Give my Hogs that schedule every year and we will be in the National Championship game!!!!

  34. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: May 12, 2012 9:25 PM

    If not for a little motorcycle accident your definitely might have a pretty damn good chance, not that your still don’t, at winning the NC … Though I did like your chances better before the chaos, LSU might, and I’m saying “might” with utmost respect, have dodged a sharp Razor.

  35. reclinerqb says: May 13, 2012 2:26 PM


    We can definitely still make some noise especially with John L. Smith as the interim HC. W/our situation there honestly was not a better option, JLS has the experience, current players love him, he is familiar w/the way that Petrino did things to get us where we are at, and will allow our OC& DC do their thing (which I love the direction our D is heading w/Haynes & Paul Petrino is the closest thing to Bobby as we can get) while keeping media and other pressure off them-JLS will let Haynes & Petrino do what they do best & only what they do best….run their side of the ball.

    Now we need to launch a worldwide search and land a coach that can lead us for the next 10 years, I’m talking about a coach on par with Saban, Meyer, Miles, etc. (not saying one of them obviously, or even someone w/their skins on the wall, just someone that can do what they have done). Arkansas has always been a “middle tier” program and “middle tier” coaching opportunity….until Petrino. Petrino has shown that you can compete for SEC championships (which the SEC champion is the National Champion now), and that you can load and make a run in a short amount of time. With the $40-80 million “Football Palace” he got funding/permission to build he showed that we will support our Hogs, BP showed that you can recruit elite talent and athletes to a small BEAUTIFUL town in the mountains and win with them, it’s always been known that the fans are among the best and we will support our Hogs, and players know that we can put them in the NFL…..After saying all that, I think Bobby Petrino moved the Razorback job to the TOP of “middle tier” programs at the least and I truly believe (and I’ve made lists about cons/pros so I think I’m making this statement objectively) that we are on the lower end of the “Elite” coaching jobs/programs out there. Obviously we are not Alabama, Florida, Texas, USC, LSU…but I think we are now up there with Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, FSU, etc on desirability…even though we don’t have the history yet of those programs….

    While the ending of the Petrino era was messy/chaotic and it came to soon, he did as much in a 4-yr span as ANY coach ever has for a program, especially when you take into account what he inherited from the train wreck Houston Nutt left….

  36. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: May 13, 2012 2:56 PM

    Don’t sell your program short, and I’ve been rafting in the Ozark so yes it is definitely beautiful country.
    Even though I look forward to the game at the end every year, I still know its anybody’s game, doesn’t matter who’s rank and who’s not!
    Good Luck on next season and we’ll see you at the top! If not LSU, might as well be our neighbor.

  37. maximusprime107 says: May 14, 2012 4:00 AM

    And college is so expensive why? Clearly schools are in dire need of the money

  38. beanocook says: May 16, 2012 12:52 PM

    So the Big East moronically turned down big TV money expecting more, which never materialized? Wow, so much for Paul Tagliabue. He was their hot shot consultant. The NFL is so utterly overrated it makes me sick.

  39. hbssportsnetwork says: Dec 6, 2012 11:34 AM

    What is the latest on the NBC negociations with the Big East? A month ago, they appeared ready to snatch up the Big East as they need (badly) a college football deal to compliment Notre Dame.

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