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Boise State president takes aim at power conferences in scathing letter

Boise State once attempted to join a conference it felt was going to be a part of the power conferences in college football. The decision to join the Big East was later rescinded, and the Broncos remained in the Mountain West Conference. Now the president of the university is sounding off about the power shift around collegiate sports, criticizing NCAA reform initiatives seemingly engineered and orchestrated by the big-money conferences.

“The NCAA cannot fall prey to phony arguments about student welfare when the real goal of some of these so-called reformers is create a plutocracy that serves no useful purpose in American higher education,” Boise State president Bob Kustra wrote in a letter, according to

The timing of this letter is noteworthy because the Pac-12 has called on fellow power conferences — the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and SEC — to endorse reform proposals in the NCAA. It is Kustra’s opinion the whole idea of reform is nothing more than a way to get the big conferences to control more of the money in college sports, suggesting academics is being put to the side.

“I have no doubt why the power conferences are working to separate themselves from some Division I universities who still see the value of equity and fairness in athletic funding,” Kustra wrote. “It’s time for the NCAA to take a stand for fiscal responsibility and the rightful place of intercollegiate athletics in American higher education…”

Kustra also took veiled shots at Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and SEC commissioner Mike Slive, two of the most influential people in college sports today. In Kustra’s letter, he makes note of two conferences “taking the lead in calling the shots for the others.” Delany and Slive have played a significant role in changes going on around college sports, thrugh expansion, playoff and rule discussions and initiatives in recent years. Whatever the topic of discussion is, Delany and Slive are two of the most visible voices representing some of the country’s largest institutions.

Does Kustra have a point, and will his concerns be addressed? Or will Boise State once again be left on the outside looking for a way to crack the party once again?

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10 Responses to “Boise State president takes aim at power conferences in scathing letter”
  1. achap39 says: May 22, 2014 10:02 AM

    Sadly, it’s like anything else. If you’re too good, or a commissioner thinks your program could walk in and dominate their perennial powers, you’re going to be left out.

    Add to that the fact that Boise isn’t anywhere near a big media market…and that means Boise will likely be on the outside looking in.

  2. manik56 says: May 22, 2014 10:09 AM

    Tough to take them seriously when you are still staring at a blue football field.

  3. ningenito78 says: May 22, 2014 10:56 AM

    Penis envy. An issue since the beginning of time.

  4. cweez2 says: May 22, 2014 12:42 PM

    Didn’t seem to mind being the Big Fish in a little pond when they were bottom feeding from the MWC, except for the occasional TCU/Utah good season.

  5. dcroz says: May 22, 2014 6:16 PM

    Boise State is a “Johnny-come-lately” that twenty years ago was still playing in I-AA. The media used them a few years ago as its ramrod against the BCS when the Broncos were going undefeated but getting left out of the national championship picture. They had their chance to join the AQ party by becoming part of the Big East (now AAC) and may have helped keep the conference in major status instead of slipping to the “is it or isn’t it?” level it is now. There is still the chance that it will be invited to join the PAC-12 or the Big XII if/when either conference decides to expand, which I have a feeling will happen in the not-too-distant future. And should they do so, it will be interesting to see if they change their tune in response.

  6. donovandancy says: May 22, 2014 6:22 PM

    Slive is the innovator, and Delaney is the kingpin of their respective conference. Swoffard of the ACC is a handpuppet who just does whatever SLive suggests, and Larry splits time agreeing with Slive and Delaney.

    With the NCAA undermined by the media on all fronts (because they only present negative things about the NCAA and not the HUGE amount of investment theyhave in student athletes) they cannot really control or deal with the two huge overhyped media conferences, $EC and Big Ten. When the largest media conference pays hundreds of millions to own the rights to a conference though, you can’t really expect them not to do everything they can to overhype their product.

    That being said, you better bet Slive and Delaney are driving things now, they have the power, the conference lackeys, and the lack of oversight to do whatever they want. Currently slive and delaney are doing whatever they can to ensure that only the big 5 conferences have access to the largest pool of money, and relegate the other conferences to a lower division functionally.

    Hey sports “journalists”, try actually calling for accountability for the two overhyped conferences for once.

  7. sportsguy3434 says: May 22, 2014 10:01 PM

    Was the letter typed with blue font or on a blue background?

    And these accusations about best interests from a half-pint school that owns the rights to keep any other school from using a non-green playing surface?

  8. ttcarrera says: May 22, 2014 10:49 PM

    Dcroz, there is NO CHANCE the PAC12 will invite Boise State to join. Zero, zilch, none.

    How does adding the 112th largest television market in the country to the PAC12 Network add any value? You think ESPN would televise a Cal – Boise State game on Thursday or Saturday night and have more than 100 people east of the Mississippi watch it? If you were in charge of your company’s advertising budget, would you buy commercials for that game when the only people who would watch are the 220,000 TVs in Idaho and the few remaining loyal Cal fans.

    Larry Scott would lose his job and you’d lose you advertising gig.

  9. normtide says: May 23, 2014 12:07 PM

    And this guy is doing the exact same thing. Looking out for his guys. All this time he should have been fighting, lobbying, pleading, to join the big 12. He should have offered concessions to join. That was their best move. They missed the boat and that’s life

  10. pavepusher says: Jun 22, 2014 12:32 PM

    Shouldn’t a University be concerned primarily with student academics, and not its football league memberships?

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