Boise State’s biggest fight in Mountain West play may not come on the blue turf this year but in the courtroom.
At the heart of the matter? MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told reporters in early January announcing the deal that Boise State’s sweetheart agreement to take an extra cut of broadcast revenue — originally part of a deal to remain the conference after briefly going to the Big East during realignment’s heyday — was ending. That was news to the Broncos, who were not too happy with such a change that they apparently never agreed to.
“Boise State’s decision to join the conference was predicated on a number of negotiated provisions, including the right to separately negotiate material terms of media rights relating to our home games,” the university said last week in a statement to the media. “This is stated in our conference agreement and cannot be changed by any vote of the membership or conflicting agreement. We will not support any change to this provision and are in the process of weighing our options to move forward.”
Those options naturally included a lawsuit and that’s just what we have now. Interestingly, based on the timing of things, that suit was filed just a few hours after the school issued their statement on Jan. 17. The university is demanding a jury trial on the matter and is seeking that the re-entry agreement signed in late 2012 with the conference be honored (worth over $1.8 million a year).
We’ll see what, if anything, ultimately comes out of this latest tiff between the MWC and Boise State but it certainly does threaten to loom large over the coming months before the new broadcast agreement goes into effect. The Broncos have had a difficult relationship with their peers in the league ever since they first departed (though never in reality) for the Big East many moons ago and then rejoined the conference.
Now that friction is making its way into the courtroom in a way that could lead to even more fireworks than a typical BSU football game features on a typical Saturday night.