The Boise State Broncos will stay in the Mountain West Conference rather than join the Big East Conference, the MWC announced today.
Boise State will remain a member of the MWC in all sports effective immediately. The Broncos were set to join the Big East on July 1, 2013.
“Without question, conference affiliation has been an odyssey for Boise State, with all the unexpected turns and changes that term suggests,” stated Boise State University president Robert Kustra. “The benefits of geographic footprint, revenue, and national exposure have to be balanced against the changing circumstances of conference realignment. I am confident that our Mountain West membership is the very best decision for Boise State University, our student-athletes and our incredible fan base.”
“We are very pleased today to announce Boise State University’s continuing membership in the Mountain West Conference,” said Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Maintaining the Broncos program as part of the already solid foundation we have established creates a posture of great stability for the Mountain West going forward. It also enhances the Conference’s competitive and marketplace platforms, positioning us favorably in the evolving FBS landscape.”
As part of their new agreement with the Mountain West, Boise State’s home football games will not be part of any “current or future Mountain West Conference wide television rights contract.” Further, the league will “guarantee the rights to Boise State home football games that are sold as a separate package.”
Another provision in the new contract stipulates that the MWC will honor Boise State’s previous non-conference scheduling contracts and that they will not “regulate Boise State’s uniform colors or designs.” This means that the Broncos will once again be allowed to wear all blue uniforms at home.
With Boise remaining in the MWC, the conference will have 11 football members for the 2013 season: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State (new), UNLV, Utah State (new), and Wyoming.
San Diego State is set to join the Big East in 2013, but could also decide to stay in the MWC. That would give the conference 12 teams with the possibility of splitting into divisions and staging a championship game.
A report from CBSSports.com indicates that MWC commissioner Craig Thompson has been in talks with 3-5 teams about the possibility of joining. One of those is likely San Diego State, with the others rumored to be Houston, SMU, UTEP, and UTSA.
BYU is also a candidate to rejoin the Mountain West, but they would likely require a television rights contract similar to Boise State in order to pry them away from independence.
The Big East, which recently announced their new 6-team divisions and 2013 home/away opponents, is in turmoil once again. And it could get worse if San Diego State stays in the MWC and Houston, or others, bolt for greener pastures.