The Boise State athletic department is anticipating an offer to join the Big East Conference for the 2013 football season and is set to ask the Idaho State Board of Education for approval to move forward today.
Boise State president Bob Kustra said dominoes would begin falling all over the college football landscape. The Broncos would join the Big East along with Central Florida, SMU, Houston and Air Force. Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State likely would go to Conference USA, and Utah State would join the Mountain West from the Western Athletic Conference.
Update: The State Board authorized Kustra to have the authority to accept a Big East invitation. He said he hopes to find a home for Boise State's other sports as early as tomorrow, and expects the situation, meaning the move to the Big East, to be done by next week.
The proposition is laid out in the agenda for today's meeting. It reads as follows:
Boise State University requests permission to change conference affiliation for its intercollegiate athletics teams
President Kustra has informed the Board, and news media organizations have reported, that Boise State is one of several institutions under consideration for potential membership in the Big East Conference for its intercollegiate football team. These discussions are a result of the conference realignment precipitated
by the changing membership of many schools in the eastern and mid-west conferences. The domino effect of these changes has caused the potential for a conference change for Boise State. While no invitation to join has been extended at this time, 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 primary impact will be the increase in conference revenue. Currently, the Mountain West conference-wide payout is roughly between $1,400,000 and $1,900,000 per year, depending upon football bowl and basketball post season performance of conference teams. If the expansion plans of the Big East proceed as reported, there will be 12 football playing schools in the Big East.
Under the current Big East media agreements (which will lapse and come due for renegotiation in 2012), the payouts to the football playing schools would be approximately $3,700,000 annually. However, the Big East Conference is the only member of the BCS automatic qualifying conferences that has its media rights package coming due for renewal in 2012. The Big East expects that bidding its media rights on the open market in the fall of 2012 will result in a
significant increase in the conference media revenue. Finally, the Big East is considered one of the premier conferences in men’s and women’s basketball.
While Boise State will not be a basketball playing member, the increased exposure to the affiliation with such a strong conference will be good for the University and is part of what will drive the increased media value for the 2012 media rights bids.
As noted, the Big East is also a member of the BCS. As such its conference champion is guaranteed a placement in one of the five BCS bowl games. This exposure is important to the University and its football program for various reasons. The Big East is guaranteed the automatic qualifying status through the 2013 season (for the January 2014 BCS bowl games). In addition, the Big East has bowl tie-ins with several other prominent bowl games.
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.
The University expects increased travel costs in association with the longer charter flights for conference games. However, since the University already charters planes for all away football games, the increased cost is only the incremental cost over the already chartered flights to Mountain West Conference games. The University estimates this increase at approximately $200,000 to
Another important impact of joining the Big East as a football only member will be that the University will be required to have all other sports in a conference as well. The University has pursued this by inquiring of several potential conferences. Such discussions are ongoing and the University is confident its quality programs will be a welcome addition to one of those conferences.
The conference change is anticipated to occur July 1, 2013. With more than one year advance notice the University will not pay the $5,000,000 exit penalty to the Mountain West Conference and will, instead, only forfeit the annual conferencewide distribution for the 2012 season.