- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Boise State has yet to withdraw from the Mountain West Conference and faces a Saturday deadline to do so without having to pay additional financial penalties should it go ahead with its move to the Big East.
As it stands, Boise State must forfeit $2.5 million in future revenue if it gives one year's notice of its withdrawal to the Mountain West by Saturday.
If Boise State formally withdraws after June 30, that financial penalty grows to at least $7.5 million. It could be much more if a Mountain West team makes it to a Bowl Championship Series game this season.
Boise State has maintained it still has plans to join the Big East as a football-only member beginning in 2013. The school has declined all comment until final action has been taken, saying in a statement Monday that "We are are aware of the upcoming deadline and continuing to work hard on getting everything completed."
There are several complicating factors impacting any decision to withdraw by Saturday. First and foremost, Boise State has major question marks about where its Olympic sports programs will play. Boise State has an agreement to house its other sports in the Western Athletic Conference, but the WAC's stability is in serious jeopardy after the latest round of realignment.
Only five schools will remain members beginning in 2013, and that includes Boise State. Two more must be added for the WAC for it to remain a Division I conference. There have been preliminary discussions with the Big West, but nothing is certain.
The Big West voted to consider Boise State, but the Broncos had to formally request an invitation to be considered. Big West commissioner Dennis Farrell told ESPN.com recently that the board of directors were open to adding Boise State.
Multiple sources said Boise State would need to help offset travel costs in the Big West, much like Hawaii is doing with its sports (all but football are in the Big West this fall with football going to the Mountain West). The Big West, save Hawaii, is essentially a travel-by-bus league in California. Pacific, located in Stockton, is moving to the West Coast Conference in 2013. Sources said Boise State could get financial help from the Big East in order to facilitate a move to the Big West.
There are also questions about how much money Boise State stands to gain as a member of the Big East. Though no decisions have been made on revenue distribution from a four-team playoff, it has been made clear that the Big East will not be in the top tier of money makers, the way it is now. The Big East also will be involved in television negotiations come September, and it is unclear how much of a cut the school will get.
Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz was included in this report.