Big East needs more clarity

January, 3, 2013
1/03/13
2:00
PM ET
San Diego State is on the clock.

Now that Boise State has decided to stay in the Mountain West, just about everybody is wondering if the Aztecs will pull back from their commitment to the Big East, too. If they stay, they are isolated on the West Coast, with no rivals nearby and nothing in common with the remaining league schools.

There is no question it makes more geographic sense to stay in the Mountain West. But San Diego State will not get the same television concessions that Boise State got -- concessions Big East commissioner Mike Aresco says the Big East was unwilling to make. San Diego State does not have nearly as much leverage, and therefore may not stand to gain as much financially as the Broncos should they stay put.

ESPN colleague Brett McMurphy reports as part of Boise State’s contract with the Mountain West, the league must offer membership to San Diego State before any other school. The “right of first option” expires on Jan. 31, 2013, according to the contract obtained by ESPN. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed this week he had been in touch with San Diego State officials.

Also keep in mind, the Aztecs' Big East contract allows them to withdraw from the league without paying an exit fee if there is no other Big East member located west of the Rocky Mountains. They remain the only ones with Boise State's departure. San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement earlier this week his school was monitoring the changes in conference realignment.

Interestingly enough, a source told McMurphy that San Diego State does not have the votes right now to get back into the Mountain West. The source indicated the Mountain West prefers BYU, which left the Mountain West to go independent in 2011.

San Diego State may not be the only Big East school the Mountain West is targeting. Sources told McMurphy that the Mountain West also is considering Houston and SMU, two teams slated to join the Big East in 2013.

In an interview with The Associated Press, commissioner Mike Aresco said he just wants an answer from San Diego State so the Big East can try and move forward. But even then, there are no sure answers about a new television partner, or the future, for a league that cannot hold itself together.

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