Boise State has had discussions with the Western Athletic Conference to determine if its Olympic sports teams could join the WAC in 2012 in case the Broncos’ football program joins the Big East this fall, sources told CBSSports.com.
“The Big East has been pushing them ‘quietly’ to join for 2012,” a source said. “The WAC has had to rearrange lots of [its Olympic sports] schedules [in anticipation of the possible move].”
Boise State, along with San Diego State, Houston, SMU, UCF and Memphis, will join the Big East in 2013. However, the Big East desperately needs a replacement this fall for West Virginia, which is leaving for the Big 12. Because of West Virginia’s departure to the Big 12, the remaining seven Big East members would each need another game. The early addition of Boise State would fill that void.
Boise State president Bob Kustra recently said it’s “too late” for the Broncos’ football program to join the Big East this fall, but multiple college football industry sources are skeptical. Boise State's non-football or Olympic sports programs will compete in the WAC.
“Boise State still hasn’t ruled out coming to the Big East early,” a source said.
Two other sources told CBSSports.com they believe Boise State will play in the Big East in 2012.
One reason is the Mountain West’s by-laws allow a school to leave early if a penalty is paid. If Boise State joined the Big East this fall, the Broncos’ would forfeit their final year of revenue in the MWC and pay double the amount of the final year’s revenue, meaning their “exit fee” would be determined by how successful they were in the MWC during the 2011-12 academic year.
So if Boise State joined the Big East for this fall it would owe the Mountain West about $8 million to $9 million.
On Friday, Kustra told the Idaho Statesman he thought it was too late to make a move for the Big East for the 2012-13 school year.
“I can't imagine how anyone can pull that off,” Kustra said. “We would never want to pull it off in a fashion that dealt shabbily with our existing partners in the Mountain West. I don't think that could ever work.”CBSSports.com reported that West Virginia officials had contacted Big East future members to see if one could join the league a year early, which would reduce the amount of financial hardship to the league and also likely reduce the amount of West Virginia’s settlement with the league.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto was asked Wednesday if the Big East had contacted any schools about joining early in 2012 and if the league would help a school pay for its exit fees to leave early.“The question is related to the impending litigation we're involved in on two fronts,” Marinatto said. “It would be inappropriate for me to get into specifics about all of that at this point. I'm going to not talk about that specifically.”