Sunday, July 1, 2012
Boise State to leave MWC
By Andy Katz
Boise State beat the midnight deadline Saturday to withdraw from the Mountain West Conference, officially keeping the Broncos on the path toward Big East affiliation in college football for the fall of 2013.
The school announced Sunday that it was in ongoing discussions with the Big West to make that conference the home for the majority of its other sports. The Big West will hold a meeting of its presidents before the upcoming academic year to make a decision on Boise State's membership in the conference beginning July 1, 2013.
"There is no doubt that conference affiliation is a difficult and complex issue, but I am very pleased where we stand today and excited for the future prospects of all of our Bronco sports," Boise State president Dr. Bob Kustra said in a statement.
Boise State had to beat the deadline to avoid paying a $5 million penalty that would have been incurred had the school failed to notify the MWC of its intentions past June 30. Boise State will already lose an estimated $2.5 million of revenue.
Boise State is attempting to do what fellow MWC member San Diego State has done: be in the Big East in football and the Big West in all other sports. Boise State decided in December to leave the MWC but unlike San Diego State didn't officially withdraw from the MWC well before the deadline.
San Diego State was welcomed with open arms to the Big West since the conference desperately needed a major addition within California. The Big West has only one league member, newly joining Hawaii for 2012-13, that will require teams to fly for a game. Hawaii is giving the Big West financial help to offset the costs. The rest of the members in the Big West are in California.
Hawaii football is playing in the MWC after leaving the WAC in all sports.
And that's why adding Boise State was a problem for some of the Big West schools. A Big East source told ESPN.com that Boise State will receive financial help to pay the Big West for travel costs. San Diego State has been lobbying Big West schools to invite Boise State, as well, since the Aztecs need and want a Western partner for its football presence in the Big East.
The WAC has only a few remaining members in Denver, Seattle, Idaho and New Mexico State for 2013-14 once all the defections take place. Nevada and Fresno State are leaving the WAC for the MWC this season while Utah State and San Jose State will leave for 2013-14.
Boise State and San Diego State will be playing their final seasons in the MWC in 2012-13.
Big East football will have the following members in 2013-14: Boise State, San Diego State, Temple, Memphis, Central Florida, Houston, SMU, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville and South Florida with Navy joining in 2015.
If Boise State can join the Big West in 2013-14 after Pacific departs for the West Coast Conference, it will join San Diego State, Cal Poly, Cal State-Fullerton, Cal State-Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara.