Looks like Boise State joins San Diego State in having cold feet about joining the Big East. Last week, San Diego State officials denied a rumor that they were considering backing out of the Big East. Now it looks like Boise State is not so sure about joining the Big East due to some contention going on in the Big East, yet again.
The basketball schools are possibly looking into breaking away and forming their own basketball league and now the Louisville is looking to jump ship and try to get into the Big 12, or the ACC, and Connecticut is actively looking to leave. So, to say both San Diego State and Boise State are unsure is an understatement.
The latest comes from CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy who says Boise State is having second thoughts about joining the Big East:
An industry source told CBSSports.com that Mountain West representatives met with Boise State officials earlier this week to persuade the Broncos to remain in the MWC. Adding to that possibility is that the Broncos still haven't formally notified the Mountain West they are withdrawing from the league.
CBSSports.com asked Boise State for a comment about the MWC meeting and why the school had not formally withdrawn from the Mountain West. "We are actively monitoring the changing landscape in college athletics and remain committed to making the best long-term decisions for Boise State," a spokesman said.
The always stomped upon Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson has said that "there is still room at the table," for Boise State and San Diego State to return as full members. That is why Idaho and New Mexico State are currently not of interest to the Mountain West at this time.
The the key fact in all of this is that Boise State has not officially said they will leave the Mountain West, but they do have a deal in place with the Big East where if they leave before playing a game in the Big East there is a $5 million penalty.
There are a few reasons for why Boise State would be reconsidering their move. First (in no order) is that the WAC may no longer be around to be able to host their non-football sports, and the Mountain West has made it very clear that they will not accept partial members unless it is for football-only. Finding a league to host those others sports is tough as the Big West an West Coast Conference have said no, so the only other options are the Big Sky or just maybe the Missouri Valley Conference.
Another reason is that with a college football upon us in 2014 and the end of automatic qualifying status gone hurts the Big East in the amount of money they could make. Plus, the Big East is slowly becoming closer to the level of current non-AQ leagues than with the AQ leagues. Then there is the money they turned down this past summer of television rights which would have landed Boise State about $8.4 million per year, but now that number could be dwarfed with the Big East now looking like Conference USA.
Back to the post season situation, the bowls are going to be used in addition to a playoff however with AQ status gone and leagues able to sign deals with bowls it could leave the Big East on the outside looking in on a $20 million-plus payout. Part of the reason that Boise State left was also for the BCS money and currently the Big East does not have a contract with a current BCS Bowl, and likely won't get a deal like that for their conference champion. My best guest is that the Big East will not earn a lucrative bowl deal like they currently have and the best deal they might land would be about $10 million the high end. Then split that up with the league and well the money is not there.
With all of this uncertainty with league members actively and publicly wanting to leave and no more likely big pay day for the post season the amount of reasons for Boise State to stay keeps increasing.
Now, if Thompson and the rest of the Mountain West want Boise State -- as well as San Diego State -- back in the league they will need to pony up and help pay the $5 million exit fee to get them back in the league, but that should not be too hard since the entry fee is $2 million to join the Mountain West and with Hawaii, Utah State, San Jose State, Fresno State and Nevada joining over the next two years helping Boise State back should be easy.
Also, the Mountain West would only have to pay one exit fee since the agreement between Boise State, San Diego State and the Big East says that there must be a Western partner, if not they can leave with little or no penalty.