On Tuesday afternoon, BJ Rains of the Idaho Press and Don Day of BoiseDev announced that they had uncovered emails between Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin, BSU President Marlene Tromp, and former athletic direct Curt Apsey. The emails consisted of Bryan Harsin voicing his displeasure with the Mountain West and his thoughts of what the university should do moving forward.
“We made no decisions and the most disappointing thing was Craig Thompson said nothing. The MW is clearly not the standard in college football."— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) December 8, 2020
Tons of interesting stuff in Bryan Harsin's email to president Marlene Tromp and then-AD Curt Apsey.
From myself and @DonLDay: https://t.co/aBHHsTGnst
The emails came from a September interaction between the three parties. Harsin voiced a clear displeasure with the conference and commissioner Craig Thompson for their lack of a plan during the pandemic. He also stated that Boise State has the ability to be a leader in regard to testing and persevering through this difficult time. It seems like a lack of communication between schools and the conference has been a point of contempt for a few schools in the conference; Air Force coach Troy Calhoun has stated that the Falcons might not be a fit for the Mountain West much longer. But those weren’t the most glaring remarks in the emails.
Harsin stated that the Mountain West was not “the standard” in college football and that Boise State needed to move on if they were going to continue growing. Harsin did address the concerns with travel and other sports, but believes that the benefits outweigh the risks and that the other programs will eventually catch up. Let’s take a look at what got Coach Harsin and many Boise State fans to this point:
1- The Television Contract
The Mountain West had more bargaining power on Boise State’s behalf in the recent television negotiations. As a result, Boise State lost a sweet deal with ESPN and the exposure that comes with it. How BSU felt about this wasn’t completely clear. There have been some upsides like earlier kickoff times.
2-The Mountain West’s Attempt to Get Out of the Television Contract
After the television contract was announced, Craig Thompson said that this would be the last time Boise State received a bigger chunk of the revenue. Well, that’s not how contracts work. Boise State’s contract has no end date, and the school proceeded to sue the Mountain West for breach of contract. The matter has been settled and Boise State will likely continue to get a bigger chunk of the revenue as long as they are a member of the Mountain West.
3- The Mountain West Championship
This one hasn’t been talked about quite enough. Heading into the conference championship last year, the Mountain West was very quiet about a spot in the New Year’s Six. The Boise State fan base voiced their displeasure with the Mountain West and leadership at Boise State at the time. Many argued that they should be more supportive of Boise State like the AAC was being with Memphis and Cincinnati.
4-Curt Apsey “Stepping Down” as Athletic Director
A bit of a bombshell was dropped earlier this fall when Curt Apsey was moved to another spot in the athletic department. The move was announced as a “mutual” agreement, but it sure didn’t seem mutual. Do these emails and the move at athletic director tie together? I’m not sure, but it seems possible.
Both the school and conference have been quiet in regard to the emails at this point. But Boise State needs to do some real soul searching before they move forward and make a decision on a new athletic director. Will there be a solid landing spot for Olympic sports? Boise State has arguably the best women’s sports in the conference, and that is something to be proud of. Boise State also has an improving men’s basketball program. Will a move be beneficial to them?
Ultimately, this all comes down to money and growing the football program. If there is enough money, it might be worth it, and it could allow the school to pump more money into other programs. If the school can come to an agreement with the West Coast Conference the move would be easier to tolerate, but that appears unlikely. A move to the Big West seems more likely; is that worth it?
How do you think this plays out? How would a Boise State move impact the rest of the Mountain West? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.