On Thursday, the Idaho State Board of Education gave Boise State President Bob Kustra authorization to join the Big East as football-only member.
The Big East is one of six automatic qualifying BCS leagues and is guaranteed its BCS status through the 2013 season. Boise State has not received an "official invitation" yet, but would join the Big East on July 1, 2013.
The addition of Boise State would be huge for the Big East, which is trying to restock its league after Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU and West Virginia announced they would be leaving the league for the ACC or Big 12 conferences.
Boise State submitted a motion to its State Board of Education Thursday to “change conference affiliation for its intercollegiate athletics teams” and leave the Mountain West. It was passed by the board, 7-1, Thursday afternoon. The school likely won't finalize a move to the Big East until it can secure a home for its Olympic sports.
As reported by CBSSports.com on Tuesday, lawyers from Boise State, UCF, Houston and SMU have been working together the past two weeks in negotiations with the Big East and plan to have all four introduced together as new members. Sources told CBSSports.com this could occur as early as Friday, but Kustra told the state's Board of Education a move may not occur until next week.
Although no official invitation from the Big East has been extended, Big East commissioner John Marinatto has had numerous conversations with representatives from all four schools – plus Navy and Air Force – in the past weeks.
“The University anticipates an offer is imminent and is requesting Board approval to proceed in the best interests of the University should an offer be extended,” the school presented in an agenda item to the Board of Education.
According to Boise State, “The Big East plans to adopt a 12 team football conference with an East and West Division. The two division alignment allows the addition of a championship game at the end of the season. A conference championship game is expected to also add value to the media rights of the conference.”
"Being in a BCS conference is absolutely critical," Kustra told the board.
Kustra also said that by Boise State providing more than a year's notice to leave the Mountain West, the school would not have to pay a $5 million exit fee.
CBSSports.com has reported the league likely would be divided this way – West: Boise State, Houston, SMU, Louisville, Air Force and BYU (if the Cougars opt to join) and East: Cincinnati, Navy, UConn, South Florida, UCF and Rutgers.
Besides Boise State, sources told CBSSports.com that Houston, UCF, SMU and Navy are committed to joinig the Big East and only awaiting an official invitation. Sources said they expect Air Force to also join after those five schools have officially been added to the Big East.
Any new Big East members would not join the league until July 1, 2013.