In yet another crippling blow to the Big East’s deteriorating hopes of maintaining national prominence, Boise State has decided to stay in the Mountain West in all sports, instead of joining the Big East in just football in 2013.
According to ESPN, the decision has been a long time coming. The Broncos athletic department signed a contract on Dec. 7, 2011, to join the Big East on July 1, 2013, but the school had been wavering on its decision the entire time.
With the departure of the ‘Catholic 7′, the status of the Big East was sent into ever further flux, with several new — and lesser — programs scheduled to join as football-only members and others in all sports. The conference continues to work towards negotiating a new media rights deal. However, with the seven basketball-only schools now breaking away, the estimated value of the conference dropped by 15- to 20-percent.
Boise had been promised a reported $8 to $10 million annually, but now the Big East can only offer a fraction of that.
On the other hand, the Mountain West has never been stronger, bringing in the likes of San Jose State and Utah State, while having negotiated a new television rights deal of its own. Not only will the big-ticket games make more money, but the league will now be able sell two other games each week to other networks; those broadcasts will be undertaken by the highest bidder.
The money may be far better for Boise State in its old, and now new, conference. Thus, the decision to stay put.
Amidst the rumors of Boise State’s waffling, the Big East went ahead and announced that the Broncos would be in the league’s West division along with San Diego State, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple. The East division: Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati, UConn, South Florida and UCF.
Despite the fact that Boise State will have never played a single down as members of the Big East, the Broncos will still have to pay a $10 million exit fee.
TCU did the same thing, playing a $5 million buyout before joining the Big 12.
Fourteen teams have announced their intentions of leaving the conference in the last two seasons, and several others may be on the way out the door as well. San Diego State was supposed to be heading into the Big East with Boise State. However, there is a clause in the Azteks’ contract stipulating that the program can pull out of the Big East if there are no teams west of the Rocky Mountains.
There would be a spot waiting for them in the Mountain West should SDSU decide to pull the trigger. There will be 11 schools in the conference in 2013: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State and Wyoming.
It is an absolutely improving conference, but Boise State is undeniably the crown jewel in deciding to play against rivals that make geographic sense.
Boise State initially was approached by the Big East to help bolster its football product after the losses of West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12.
Since Chris Petersen became the Broncos’ coach in 2006, Boise State is 84-8, finishing with four top-10 Associated Press rankings in the past seven seasons.
The only schools that play football remaining in the Big East are UConn, Cincy, and South Florida. It is not yet known whether or not they will remain in the conference as other schools make the move into the Big East or if they will be making their exit as well.
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