Benson: 'Selfish' Fresno State, Nevada owe $5 million each, can't leave until 2012

By Brian Murphy

12:48 p.m. — Get your expansion/conference shake-up questions ready. I'm starting to chat in a few minutes.

12:40 p.m. — Here is the key quote from Benson:

"The other six WAC board members were under the belief that the action taken by the eight schools last Friday indicated a willingness and desire and intent to move this forward, knowing that the potential outcome would have included a BYU and would have stabilized and solidified the WAC into a very, very good position for the future."

12:24 p.m. — Benson's call just ended. I have posted highlights on various topics below.

11:53 a.m. — Long Benson press conference, but lots of interesting nuggets.

He opened the call by calling Fresno State and Nevada "selfish" and said he "disappointed" in their actions.

Benson compared their moves to the 1998 decision by eight teams to leave the 16-team WAC, drawing a clear contrast with Boise State's move. The Broncos were much more public about their desire to leave the league.

The two schools informed Benson of their decision during a three-way call at 5 p.m. Pacific time.


Benson says both teams are subject to $5 million buyout that is due within 60 days of yesterday's announcements.

"It's payable within 60 days and we expect payment within 60 days," Benson said.

He said all eight members agreed to the clause with seven teams, including Fresno State, agreeing on Friday and Nevada verbally agreeing on Saturday. He said there are seven signed agreements at the WAC and Nevada's verbal commitment is binding.

"We took that action to prevent or at least to deter a school from accepting an invitation," he said. "... In hindsight maybe it should have been $20 million."

He said the current six members are not subject to the agreement any longer.

Benson said the decision to ask for a $5 million buyout came from him and BYU.

"BYU recognized the need for the binding agreement to protect against exactly what happened," Benson said.


Benson said the league will look at Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision teams in expansion.

He added that teams closer to Louisiana Tech might be of more interest in the new WAC, mentioning Texas-San Antonio and Texas State as possibilities. Benson did not discount the idea of going to 12 teams with Eastern and Western divisions.

Benson also discussed UC-Davis, Sacramento State and Cal Poly as potential members.

He also answered questions about Montana.

Benson said the league is able to keep its automatic qualification for NCAA tournaments with six members. However, football requires eight members, which the WAC will have until at least the 2012 season giving the league time to recruit new members.


"We hope that there is still an opportunity to structure an arrangement that would allow BYU to be part of the WAC in some shape or form," Benson said.

Benson said part of the potential agreement with BYU was to provide "four to six" football games per year.

"We've been in discussions with BYU for several weeks, going back into early July when they indicated they were exploring going football independent and whether the WAC would be interested in arranging for their other sports. We indicated that we would," Benson said.

"From that it started a series of discussions about football scheduling and future football scheduling and it was ongoing and has been ongoing."

He said he has been in contact with BYU since early July, talked to school officials Wednesday and will talk to them again today.

Benson said reports that the WAC had contacted San Diego State and UNLV to join were "incorrect."

When can Fresno State and Nevada leave?

Benson made it clear that the conference would hold Fresno State and Nevada to the league for the next two seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12).

Boise State leaves the league before the 2011-12 school year.

Boise State

Benson said the Broncos were not discussed as these plans took place.

"It was never really discussed," he said, regarding the possibility of Boise State remaining in the league.

Benson said he did not talk to Boise State on Wednesday.

10:29 a.m. — OK, so now it's the WAC turn. Commissioner Karl Benson will meet with the media in about 30 minutes to discuss the league's strategy for moving forward — without Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada.

Can the league survive with six teams?

Where does it turn for additional members?

What does Idaho do?

Is BYU still an option?

And just how mad is the commish at the turn of events, including Fresno State and Nevada agreeing to a "loyalty" clause before bailing?


• Fresno Bee columnist Matt James makes the case that Fresno State and Nevada saved the Mountain West. I wrote a similar piece for Thursday's editions of the Statesman.

• The Salt Lake Tribune has a report on why BYU is considering independence. In a word, money.

• Hawaii is mulling independence after the defections.

• Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore has 10-to-1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy.

Interesting story about former Oregon (and current Mississippi) quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

• Also, don't forget about our weekly chat: Today at 1 p.m. Sign up for an e-mail reminder below.

One last note: Thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday. It was a crazy day, but the response was tremendous. Thanks.

You can follow Murph's Turf on Twitter.

1282243745 Benson: 'Selfish' Fresno State, Nevada owe $5 million each, can't leave until 2012 Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

where's Cripe?

Finsih the top 25 already!


Karl might want to put his daughter in a less expensive school. He should have been fired when he couldn't keep his own alma matter in the conference.

Whats an alma matter?


What does.....

it mater ????


Well his daughter

might go to a very expensive school...he will have to down

"alma matter"

Means, All my vandals don't MATTER no more" !!!!

Deep stuff

Deep Dude - real deep.

Wow, lots of hours of prreparation went into that, surely.

Going Out of Business Sale at the Vandal store in Boise

Yeah, it took about as long as compose as the Vandals will be remembered. Btw fella, hope you didn't spend your life savings on your "sky box" in the kibble dome!!! Or, you are the typical vandal fan who sits back and does the same thing over and over and year after year and expects a different result?? It's called Insanity...

A Land Grant Is A Guarantee To Be Remembered.

Yeah, don't worry about it none. - I am not a typical Vandal fan, I can assure you of that.

But, I do appreciate you taking the time to be thinking of Vandals and how we will be remembered. We been kinda worried about that since before Statehood. That's why we wrote into our draft State's Constitution, at our Constitutional Convention, all that gobbeldygook about being the State's University of Higher Education and such. Some call it a Land Grant School.

And that has turned out to be such a hassle, over the years what with all those Endowment Lands and all the administration it requires and the wonderful help the Idaho Departmnet of Lands gives us with it. They are like you - concerned with helping us be remembered.

We got lots of folks wanting to help us be remembered. Somehow - I think we will be just fine and somebody will remember us, in time. I hope we are remembered for originally owning every tenth section of land within the boundaries of our Great State, and now just being the recipients of the monies for the lease/rents/fees those properties generate, is all. It's all gotten to be so big we need a state agency just to keep up with for us and do the books.

Heck ya!!!

Again, if it wasn't for BSU's coat tails and the State Of Idaho's financial support....The Vandal nation would be just a dust bowl in the Palouse. Goody for ya' all!! The bottom line is to survive - you must be progressive and inovative. Hell, the way you are talking with all that there Endowment lands and money you should have a castle up there and not just a kibble dome. So, sit back and be satisified that you are what you are..... A Land Grant School, with a horse stable for a facility and sports program that will be remembered ... well let's not get too over-confindent.

We have a castle...

right in the middle our campus on a hill surrounded by a beautiful park and arboretim that were landscaped more than 100 years ago.

a castle?

better tell rapunzel to let down her hair so you may climb the golden stair. we have a castle. funniest post of the day. where is the moat? did the alligators eat all your good football players?

A castle? a castle?

I agree that this is the funniest post ever.... What parent just loves to hear "mom, Dad, Ive been accepted to UI, they have a castle and they have really old plants.... this was the decider for me. (not the drinking or wierd fraternity rituals) I am also majoring in Renaissance arts and have joined a harry potter fraternity... I hope Dumbledore does not expel me."


My oh my, where will the Vandulls go now, maybe you can go back to the Big Sky and hang onto the coat tails of Montana!!! Good riddance to bad rubbish!!!

You act as if that's a bad thing...

I don't think you 'get' it. BSU was just as close to being screwed over yesterday morning. I think this summer proved that mid-major college football can be a nasty and greedy place. And it may not be over yet.

But I'm not gonna lie. I'm bummed about what's happening. Its becomming more and more clear that Idaho is in an arms race with BSU and other mid-majors that it can't keep up with. I think most Vandals know this. Perhaps if Idaho goes back to the Big Sky, it might be in company with schools that it can compete well with and have more in common with too. I see a lot more similarities between Montana, MSU, and Idaho than I do with Idaho and Fresno St, La. Tech, etc. And I know lots of other Vandals feel the same way I do. And money, stadium size, market size...basically all the BS won't matter as much. It'll be about football and enjoying games. And in the end, it is about football. We love to talk about it, but if it ever means something to the value of my degree or the reputation of my school then its a sad day in America.

So I'm gonna swallow my pride and say Go Vandals and Go Broncos. Both schools can represent Idaho well no matter who and where they play.


Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!!! BYE....

You know, Galena has.....

1000 fold the respect and knowledge that you do, based on what you have displayed so far. Comments like that will get you no where.

And your 69 comment was

And your 69 comment was considered classy, who are you? The college football blog police?

No, it wasn't....

I'll be the 1st to admitt that. But...I don't direct them to respected posters. Does that fill you in to YOUR status here? Probably not.....

Like I care about status, I

Like I care about status, I have a life and come on here about once every two months, I don't live on this thing and hang on everyones next line, before you start acting like you're some kind of ethics professor look at yourself d.a.

What part of...

...don't let the door hit you on the way out do you not understand? Beat it!

Well Put!

My best friend is a diehard Vandal fan. He doesn't rub me about Boise, and I am the same to him about Idaho. I promised him mid season last year, if Idaho made the H Bowl.. I would go with him and root for the Vandals. We ended up not making the game, but watched it on the tube at home. It was well worth watching him pace around throughout the game, so nervous wanting his team to win. The final 2 point play, he had to go outside and watch through the window! It was so much fun supporting him and it meant a lot to him I was there.
I,.. like a lot of folks, can get carried away sometimes. Being prodded by random comments is sometimes fun, other times stupid. But I wish the best of luck to both Universities in the future.

It's good to see football fans like you guys

for what it's worth, I think that Idaho is best suited for the new WAC, whatever that may be. Akey has Idaho in a good rebuilding phase and I think that as long as they're able to keep him around, he's going to bring good things to the program and especially so since BSU, Fresno, and Nevada are of the WAC picture. As such, the Vandals have a legitimate shot at bringing some conference titles to Moscow in the coming years, so in a way, Idaho is also big winner with all of the shuffling that's going on with the MWC and the WAC.
BSU was very close to having egg on it's face if it were not for the MWC strengthening it's conference with the addition of Nevada and Fresno, and it's rumored that Houston might be offered an invite as well, so it's a win-win for all Bronco fand and Vandals fans, but the real winners are those of us who enjoy watching both football programs play football.

WAC needs 8 teams

The WAC needs 8 teams, who else do you think is gonna join? Most teams in the Big Sky don't have the revenue to make the jump. I will rib these Vandal fans, alot harder than most, but I really don't want to see the WAC fold, because you're correct, football is football and I can watch any team play, love this game!!!

it does mean something

in relation to the value of your degree and the reputation of your school. boise state's reputation has gone up with the football program. it may not be right but it is a fact.

That is a good attitude

Both schools represent Idaho. I think that we should remember that instead of throwing names at each other.

Go Vandals and GO Broncos!

Proud BSU student

Moron...take your 26%

Moron...take your 26% graduation rate and "Regional" educational ranking and shove it!

The WAC is dead...

Hawaii = Independent
LaTech = CUSA or SBC
USU, UI, NMSU, SJSU = Big Sky conference.

By the way, Montana will

By the way, Montana will still dominate the Big Sky even with the addition of the WAC leftovers.


Is Bensons p/c going to be aired live by any medium? Is there a way to follow it live?

How will the WAC react?

Who cares! They need to worry about their own future with the losers they have left...perhaps merge with the Big Sky! Heh, heh!

I want to watch this live

I want to see Benson cry...

Benson and the WAC have been very good to BSU

so stop acting like a f'n Vandal!

For Once

as much as it really, really pains me....I agree with "kid" that Benson and the WAC have been good to BSU.


Benson was trying to make it so the MWC crumbled and the Broncos would have to grovel at his feet. Hes an inept comish and a sneaky person.


You got it all WRONG!!! BSU made the WAC and Benson. Now we are gone, Mr. Benson shows his true colors. He tried to pull and fast-one with the "Big Boys" and got squashed!!! He is a perfect fit with the Vandal program.

My Point Is

it has been a two way are thinking the last couple of years...think back to when BSU was in the Big West and was wanting to move up....the point is that it has been a good reciprocal relationship between Benson and BSU for 10 years....not just the last 3 or 4.

You're the f'n vandal or..

maybe we should call you Captain Denial. 41 never ceases to amaze.

Oh yeah...thanks for reminding me

Big Sky

Big Sky comments are tired and boring! Some of you need to seek a hobby that doesn't involve obsessing about the Vandals!

You might try swallowing....

some of those eggs before spitting out a tired and boring comment.....


"Get mad at those d*** eggs!"

Sun Belt then

Okay go back to the Sun Belt then, be better off there because Montana would just beat up on the Vandulls like Boise State did!! HA HA HA HA!!!

Good one!

not obsessive at all.

the Vandals cannot even fill their 16K seat stadium for game other than BSU. They are in over their heads. 1 good year in 10 really and they need to stop draining state money (700K in 2009) for their athletics and move to a FCS conference where they can compete and be relevant.

It's simple really. they have tried too hard to keep up with the BSU team and have lost what their focus should be.

Filling seats

For a city of 23,000 I would say their turnout is pretty good. Boise city is over 200,000 people and the region is over 500,000. BSU certainly doesn't sell out every game. Draining State money? Clearly you don't have a clue!


BYE BYE!!! Off to the Big Sky!!! Vandull fans sure were spouting off negative stuff yesterday about the Broncs and now that they're getting pummelled on this site today, it's nothing but excuse after excuse after excuse, just like their football program!!


Excuse after excuse...not from me! I was just hoping for something more original than "back to the Big Sky!" Lame!

Not from you?

Well then you're a freak of nature if you're a Vandull fan and haven't made any excuses...Not too many of your type in this about going back to the Sun Belt then? Does that make you feel better?


*slaps forehead*