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Boise State ditching Big East, staying in MWC

Deflated Football Getty Images

Cue the funeral dirge and warm up the fat lady’s pipes.  The Big East is crumbling… again.

Nearly three weeks ago, seven “basketball school” members of the Big East announced their intention to leave the beleaguered conference.  That crippling blow came in the midst of the league’s negotiations on a new television contract, and called into question whether incoming members like Boise State would get cold feet over a move that promises to fall far short financially what was initially expected.

On the last day of 2012, that question was apparently answered.

According to a report from Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, Boise State has decided against becoming a football-only member of the Big East as originally planned and will instead remain a member of the Mountain West.  All of BSU’s sports will remain in the MWC as well, as the non-football programs — with the exception of wrestling — had been slated to move to the Big West.

The move — or non-move, if you will — comes as little surprise.  In mid-November, reports surfaced that Boise State was still in contact with the MWC about staying in the conference, although BSU officials “reaffirmed” their commitment to their future conference a couple of days later.

Even as Boise State never actually became an official member of the Big East, the university will still be required to pay a $10 million exit fee.  McMurphy reports that the MWC is expected to help pay that fee.

Neither the school nor either conference involved has commented on the reported development.

To say that the Big East is once again on life support would be an understatement.  Boise State’s move could also impact San Diego State, which is also scheduled to move from the MWC to the Big East in 2013.  SDSU was BSU’s “travel partner” in their move to the Big East, and there’s little doubt that school is in the process of reevaluating their impending conference relocation.

Unlike Boise State, however, McMurphy reports that SDSU will not be compelled to pay the $10 million exit fee due to BSU’s departure.

Additionally, schools like Houston and SMU, slated to leave Conference USA for the Big East in 2013, could rethink the move based on Boise bolting the listing league.

As it stands now, the Big East will have nine football-playing members in 2013: current members Cincinnati, Temple, UConn and USF as well as incoming (maybe) members Houston, Memphis, SDSU, SMU and UCF.  That number would jump to 11 in 2014 (East Carolina and Tulane) and 12 in 2015 (Navy).

Earlier this year, Louisville and Rutgers announced they were leaving the Big East, the former for the ACC and the latter for the Big Ten.  Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving for the ACC in 2013 as well.

UPDATED 3:21 p.m. ET: In a press release issued shortly after McMurphy’s report, “the Mountain West Conference and Boise State University today jointly announced, effective immediately, Boise State will remain a member of the Mountain West in all sports.”  BSU’s president intimated that the instability of the Big East compared to the relative stability of the MWC was the tipping point in the decision-making process.

“Without question, conference affiliation has been an odyssey for Boise State, with all the unexpected turns and changes that term suggests,” said BSU president Robert Kustra in a statement. “The benefits of geographic footprint, revenue, and national exposure have to be balanced against the changing circumstances of conference realignment.  I am confident that our Mountain West membership is the very best decision for Boise State University, our student-athletes and our incredible fan base.”

“We are very pleased today to announce Boise State University’s continuing membership in the Mountain West Conference,” said MWC commissioner Craig Thompson. “Maintaining the Broncos program as part of the already solid foundation we have established creates a posture of great stability for the Mountain West going forward.  It also enhances the Conference’s competitive and marketplace platforms, positioning us favorably in the evolving FBS landscape.

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21 Responses to “Boise State ditching Big East, staying in MWC”
  1. MyTeamsAllStink says: Dec 31, 2012 3:26 PM

    SDSU will soon follow.The Big Least will be gone by this time next year

  2. hahapapa says: Dec 31, 2012 3:28 PM

    Before you say one comment timh1955, shut the he’ll up.. Good move Boise…

  3. mydixienormus says: Dec 31, 2012 3:29 PM

  4. nickp91 says: Dec 31, 2012 3:37 PM

    The death rattle of the Big East Conference got a loud louder New Year’s Eve

  5. sanduskyshowerboy says: Dec 31, 2012 3:45 PM

    Big east just got sanduskied

  6. vanmorrissey says: Dec 31, 2012 3:55 PM

    Love it. The sooner the better the rest ditch the Big Least.

  7. thefiesty1 says: Dec 31, 2012 4:16 PM

    Don’t pay an exit fee. Let their lawyers try to get it. The little east should just drop out of the FBS and drop a division where they “might” be able to compete.

  8. frug says: Dec 31, 2012 4:24 PM

    If memory serves me right BSU and SDSU will become the 17th and 18th schools to leave Big East in the past 10 years after Miami, V-Tech, BC, WVU, Pitt, ‘Cuse, Louisville, TCU, ND, and the Catholic 7. (And that list doesn’t even include Temple who they kicked out)

  9. blakebuchanan87 says: Dec 31, 2012 5:23 PM

    It makes sense for BSU and SDSU to stay out west. What doesn’t make sense to me is the extreme disdain seemingly shown towards the teams who have remained, left behind during this ESPN-driven game of musical chairs. There are now three remaining teams from the Big East that have been there for more than this current season and they are all left twisting in the wind. The simplest end to this entire mess is Maryland winning their lawsuit to lower their buyout, opening the door for others to jump from the ACC ship. FSU and maybe clemson to the Big XII and possibly other moves like VaTech and NCSU to the SEC, giving them two teams in states they previously didn’t. I also would not be surprised by the B1G taking UVA and GaTech for the same reason as well as their academic profiles. If this all happened, then maybe Cincy, UCONN, and USF could all move to the ACC and all of this can finally end.

  10. frug says: Dec 31, 2012 5:26 PM

    Brett McMurphy is reporting the MWC is making some major concessions to Boise including

    – Letting them play Blue on Blue (blue uniforms on the smurf turf)

    – Assisting them in their Big East exit fees (which are only going to be $5 million)

    – Most importantly, BSU’s home games will be sold as a separate package from the rest of the conference’s TV rights, enabling them to take advantage of a new Bonus Structure. Teams will get an extra $300k for each nationally televised game and another $200k if the games are on Saturdays. Assuming they sell the TV rights to ESPN they will get the $300k for every home game and the $200k for a lot of them. BSU will also be eligible for the Bonus in conference road games if they are picked up by CBS nationally.

  11. frug says: Dec 31, 2012 6:35 PM

    One correction, the info I posted was from Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman, not Brett McMurphy.

  12. theotherpatrick says: Dec 31, 2012 7:40 PM

    Consider me surprised! Not that BSU opts out of a crumbling BE, no, the surprise to me was BSU even wanting to join that conference in the first place. Bad geographic fit, teams jumping like rats from a sinking ship, etc. No, I am surprised, no, astonished that Tiny timh1955 hasn’t belched out one of his toxic nuggets of wisdom yet about this turn of events.
    Really, this is more than likely to be the better thing to happen anyway. Too bad about the BE and all the teams scheduled to join.

  13. trapshoot says: Dec 31, 2012 11:25 PM

    Boise State going to the Big East made absolutely no sense. They should have been in the PAC 12 instead of Colorado.

  14. timh1955 says: Jan 1, 2013 8:30 AM

    So Boise Community College has gone from WAC to the MWC to the Big East to the MWC in three years! Real schools stay in the same conference for many years. Just another example of BSCC thinking they could play with the Big boys.

  15. hahapapa says: Jan 1, 2013 8:47 AM

    Timmy,
    Where you been, what took you so long ? It just isn’t the same without you bashing on the Broncos. Damn dude, that’s rude to be late for a party…

  16. thegamecocker says: Jan 1, 2013 11:41 AM

    @mydixienormus says:

    “Nothing to see here” video from Naked Gun! Now THAT….THAT was funny. Nicely done.

  17. mydixienormus says: Jan 1, 2013 11:50 AM

    Thanks man. Good luck to your Gamecocks today.

  18. boisehockeyref says: Jan 1, 2013 7:02 PM

    Again, another uninformed comment by timh1955. He’s one of those “if you’re not in the SEC, you are crap” kinda people. He spouts statistics about them, but he does not know jack. I think BSU did a pretty good job working a television deal… Get used to BSU, Timmah… They are gonna be around whether you like ‘em or not.

  19. theotherpatrick says: Jan 2, 2013 12:24 AM

    Dear boisehockeyref:
    Tiny Little Timmy must love The Boise State Broncos and The Blue Turf, for he finds any and every site that features BSU and makes comments about the Broncos. To his credit, he makes more posts about the Broncos than both of us combined. I admire his dedication and loyalty to posting commentary about our beloved football team. There is even commentary about BSU on sites that have nothing to do with Boise State. The free press that Timmy spreads around the internet is hidden gratitude indeed. Well done, you self admitted ambulance chaser, you do a service and an honor to all of Bronco Nation! Slainte!!

  20. frug says: Jan 2, 2013 12:53 AM

    Actually, looking back at my post, I realize that I forgot that Rutgers jumped ship as well. That makes 18 departures in 10 years (and 19 if SDSU bails), including all founding football members and 7 of the 8 founding BB members.

    Full List Chronologically from announcement;
    (Big Breath)

    V-Tech, Miami, BC, Pitt, ‘Cuse, TCU, WVU, ND, Rutgers, Louisville, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Villanova, Boise St.

  21. thegamecocker says: Jan 2, 2013 9:49 AM

    I feel bad for the new Big East Commissioner, Mr. Aresco. He has an impossible job ahead of him of trying to constantly re-construct a conference where teams are coming and going. How can anyone possibly do a TV contract with all this unrest? With Boise St now out and others to possibly do the same, I’d like to know what the football schedule will be for Rutgers and Louisville next season, presumably their last in the Big East. What a mess. I truly feel bad for this Commissioner.

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