And that sound you hear is the Big East beginning to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Earlier today we noted a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune, which stated that San Diego State was working on behalf of Boise State in an attempt to find a home for the Broncos’ non-football sports. With the WAC, which was where BSU was going to house conference-wise most of its other sports beyond football, on the verge of collapse, there was fear that Boise would back out of its planned football move from the Mountain West to the Big East.
While those fears still exist, they’ve lessened a bit with the news coming out of Idaho this evening.
In a conversation with Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman, Big West commissioner Dennis Farrell confirmed that his conference has engaged in dialogue with Boise regarding the issue of membership for its non-football sports. According to Murphy, Boise State would need eight yes votes out of the 10 members that will be in the conference in 2013.
Interestingly, one of those members will be Hawaii. The Warriors will move its non-football sports into the Big West this year — and its football program into the Mountain West this year as well. Suffice to say, the island school might feel a bit of pressure from its new mainland football conference to vote nay on the Boise issue.
Regardless, it’s at least a topic the Big West is willing to discuss.
“We did talk about Boise State specifically and where we have come out on this is that we have agreed to entertain interest in Boise State would be the best way to put it,” Farrell said. “We’re open to at least explore the possibility.”
A “new membership assessment tool” has been sent to Boise by the Big West in order to begin the process of determining how the school’s athletics would fit into the conference.
Of course, an “assessment tool” and engaging in dialogue guarantees nothing at this point, but it certainly has to have the Big East feeling slightly more optimistic that Boise State will indeed join the conference in football in 2013 as planned.
That optimism had been waning somewhat in recent days as a report surfaced that Boise was having second thoughts on the move to the Big East next year, in large part over the issue of where exactly it would house its other sports if the WAC ceased to exist as a league. Perhaps sensing an opportunity, the MWC reportedly met with Boise officials last week in an attempt to convince the school to remain in the conference.
One byproduct of Boise State reneging on the move to the Big East would’ve been San Diego State, scheduled to move to the same conference at the same time, doing the same, and without having to pay an exit fee. So, SDSU and its proposed new conference have a vested interest on a couple of fronts in seeing Boise’s sports in the Big West, which is where its non-football athletic programs will move in 2013.
The very last thing the Big East can afford right now, with negotiations on a new television agreement in the offing, is to have what would become its flagship football program backing out of a move into the conference, and taking a sizable TV market with them. If the Big West’s openness to engage in talks with Boise State is any indication, such a development becomes increasingly unlikely.
Boise State will, though, have a $5 million decision to make in the next month and a half. If Boise, which has not yet officially notified the MWC of its intent to leave that conference, decides before June 30 of this year that it is backing out of the Big East move, it will owe the Big East $5 million. If Boise decides on or after July 1 of this year that it will not compete in the Big East, the financial number owed to that conference would jump to $10 million.
In other words, Boise State — and by extension San Diego State and the Big East — needs an answer from the Big West before the calendar turns to July. And let the countdown on that front begin in earnest… now…