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Boise State files suit against soon-to-be AAC

Bob Kustra AP

Just before the start of 2013, and following months of speculation, Boise State announced it would not be joining the Big East conference, but rather staying in the Mountain West for all sports.

Now, the school is suing the Big East — or, what will soon be the American Athletic Conference — to get out of a $5 million cancellation penalty, according to the Idaho Statesman. The Statesman adds that Boise State officials say they filed the lawsuit in anticipation of a suit from the AAC.

Boise’s suit claims the AAC is a different organization than the one it previously planned to join, and therefore the cancellation fee is nullified.

“Boise State entered into that agreement in good faith and with a great degree of optimism, but the conference we agreed to join simply no longer exists,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra (pictured).

What kind of success Boise will have against the AAC remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not the first school to try to get out of paying an exit/cancellation fee in this age of realignment.

Seven basketball schools have broken off from the Big East and bought the rights to keep the league’s name, with the remaining football schools carrying on under the title. The AAC will eventually have 12 football members once Navy joins the conference in 2015.

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17 Responses to “Boise State files suit against soon-to-be AAC”
  1. thefiesty1 says: Apr 15, 2013 10:21 PM

    The ACC is nothing more than the Little East. Give it up and go away. Nobody really cares anymore.

  2. thefiesty1 says: Apr 15, 2013 10:22 PM

    Make that the AAC. It just doesn’t matter.

  3. dvh1100 says: Apr 15, 2013 10:33 PM

    @thefiesty1, did you mean AAC? If you’re going to insult someone do it correctly.

  4. wustlumdnj says: Apr 15, 2013 10:51 PM

    Thefiesty1 doesn’t care about conferences his team doesn’t play in, so you shouldn’t either

  5. bender4700 says: Apr 15, 2013 11:12 PM

    Why shouldn’t Boise have to pay?

    They committed to join, had second thoughts, and backed out.

    Is that not the definition of a cancellation fee?

    I mean really???

    Another example of Boise wanting to be treated like a big boy but behaving like a child.

  6. bender4700 says: Apr 15, 2013 11:15 PM

    The conference still exists, only Basketball schools left, yes a couple football programs left but that was known all along.

    Changing the name hardly erases the existence of the conference. If the MWC changes it’s name to “Not as Good as the Pac-12” will Boise say “We were apart of a conference but it disappeared.”

    Boise, you should lobby Nevada to bunch with you, Fresno State, and Air Force to join the Pac-12. That should be your focus.

    I WANT Boise in a Big boy conference, that way we don’t have to debate their ability to face them more than once a year.

  7. 11thstreetmafia says: Apr 16, 2013 12:11 AM

    I HATE Boise St. but, they are right in this one.

  8. normtide says: Apr 16, 2013 12:24 AM

    Bender is correct. Like it or not, they agreed to join, then canceled. Boise has big boy taste all of a sudden, since they become the Texas of the MWC. As if that makes you something special. This way, they still play one big game a year, but get treated royally by their league. Just pay the $5 mill, it’s a small price to pay to be able to cry every year about being left out. Lets be honest, they want no part of real competition.

  9. manchestermiracle says: Apr 16, 2013 1:58 AM

    More lawyers in college sports. How sad. Since changing conference names is all the rage, how about the NCAA change its name to more accurately reflect the alarming turn it has taken? National Collegiate Attorneys Association has a nice ring for an organization that is hell-bent on becoming a permanent presence in courtrooms across the land.

  10. ancientcougar says: Apr 16, 2013 12:05 PM

    I think it is a toss up,

    The BCS program was the hook and that is gone. The schools that are left are not remarkably stronger or respected more than the MWC. The name is different. Boise backed out because the “Big East” couldn’t provide the program that Boise signed up for. Plus, the $100 million that the “Big East” basketball schools paid for the name is primarily going to the existing members of the “AAC”, instead of being shared equally by all the schools.

    I think they have a case.

  11. mogogo1 says: Apr 16, 2013 1:01 PM

    Technically, I think they probably have a solid legal argument about it not being the same entity they agreed to join. But I’m totally lost as to why anybody with a brain in their head would let themselves get roped into a deal like this without having the exit fees and escape clauses totally nailed down.

  12. scoocha says: Apr 16, 2013 1:47 PM

    I grow to hate Boise CC with each new press clipping. Just start playing real teams and stop with the undeserved hubris. Great, you beat the WAC teams for a decade hooray for you. Why did you turn down Nebraska’s 2 for 1 deal? Lower colleges (once was a JC) have to start somewhere.

  13. pike573 says: Apr 16, 2013 6:51 PM

    The conference they agreed to join no longer exists. They agreed because of the schools in the conference (a conference is a sum of its part) and those schools have fled. They shouldn’t have to pay.

  14. lowtalker says: Apr 16, 2013 7:47 PM

    so, they are going to pay lawyers $10 million to try and get out of paying $5 million . . just pay it and be done with it

  15. mogogo1 says: Apr 16, 2013 7:53 PM

    Curious how lawsuits like this work. They say this is being filed in anticipation…but until the money is demanded there’s nothing to sue about, is there? And if the money has been formally demanded, the suit would be in response to that, it wouldn’t be anticipatory.

  16. normtide says: Apr 16, 2013 8:16 PM

    Great point mogogo. I would think the reason is mostly to have a judge in Idaho rule on the case.

  17. florida727 says: Apr 17, 2013 9:10 AM

    Couple of things to consider: 1) what’s the governing law for the signed contract; I doubt it’s the state of Idaho (not exactly Big East HQ there), so no, an Idaho judge will NOT decide the case, 2) is there a clause in the agreement that relieves them of their obligation should the conference disband; it’s likely not one the conference would have included; it would have been prudent for Boise State to do that though; without one, they owe the money IF the conference can substantiate its “uninterrupted continuance” as a legal entity, 3) a contract is a contract; absent any VERY specific “out clause” or disbandment, they owe the money; they can fight it all they want, in the end they’ll lose; their best hope is for a compromise to reduce the actual amount owed.

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