By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier spoke to the City Club of Boise on Monday about the future of Broncos athletics, and also answered some audience questions. Here are the highlights:
— On joining the Pac-10: “I’m often asked, why are we going into the Mountain West Conference? ‘You guys aren’t setting your sights high enough. What’s wrong with you.’ It’s simple. The reason we’re not going into the Pac-10 is because we’ve applied for membership into the NFL. … The truth is schools must be invited into a conference. You don’t get to just join a conference like you can go and join Costco.”
— On the BCS: “It’s truly amazing. The sport where the NCAA can generate the biggest revenue and they end up giving it away for free. If the university presidents ever really truly understood what is happening, they would be in disbelief. The NCAA leadership over the past 30 years has been lulled to sleep while this transformation took place.” … Brian Murphy will have much more on this in Wednesday’s edition of the Idaho Statesman. Bleymaier took some pretty good shots at conference commissioners.
— Boise State expects to open Dona Larsen Park in the fall of 2012 and the new football complex in 2013. Then, he said, “we’ll turn our focus to adding additional seating.”
— The list of facility needs is long with a new addition — Bleymaier said the softball team already has outgrown its home at Mountain Cove. Others on the list include a 3,000-seat gym for wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball and women’s basketball; a swimming and diving pool; spectator seating for indoor tennis; expanded academic facilities; lights for the soccer field; and upgrades to the hall of fame.
— “Our best days are ahead of us.”
— To a question about scheduling Idaho in football: “I have a prepared answer for that because I did anticipate that. This is from Yogi Berra, ‘I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.’ ”
— On the Mountain West TV deal, Bleymaier pointed out that the Broncos’ 12 games will be available to more total households than they would under a WAC deal with six games on ESPN and six on KTVB. “We’re not losing television exposure,” he said. “It is going to be different. It is going to take our fans a while to figure out where to get these games. But now this year we’re looking at having all 12 of our games broadcast to a whole lot of people around the country and we’re going to get paid for it for a change. What ESPN gave us was exposure. They did not give us money to speak of. The WAC contract, the majority of years we were in the WAC, was a total of $1 million a year. A year ago that went to $4 million. In the Mountain West, their television contract nets $12 million per year.”
— On keeping football coach Chris Petersen: “Obviously we had a scare in January when Stanford came after him. I think the key to keeping Coach Pete around is to continue the progress that we have made in our program and at the university. It’s not that we have to go from A to Z tomorrow — our coaches understand that that’s not feasible. What I talk to our coaches about is us going from A to B, and then from B to C. You know what? They buy that and they appreciate that. … We need to continue to get better — every day, every way that we possibly can.”
— Boise State has a trademark on its blue turf and will not allow any other Division I schools to install it. The school has granted permission to a lower-division college and high school.
— Boise State has no plans for additional sports. The school is in compliance with Title IX and Bleymaier has a strategy to stay there without adding another women’s sport. A new sport, he said, would be “a large expense on an otherwise stressed budget.”
— “We’re going to be as good as this community wants us to be. The sky’s the limit if the community wants that to be the limit. We can’t do it alone. We can’t do it with just a couple of you. It’s going to take everybody in the city of Boise and the Treasure Valley and Bronco Nation and beyond to chart the future for Boise State athletics. I think we’ve got great potential. Look at our past and it’s fantastic. The future is ours and we just have to make it what we want it to be.”
Afterward, I asked Bleymaier about this year’s football game at Toledo. He said ESPN wants to move the game to Friday but Toledo hasn’t signed off on it yet.
Boise State generated a little more than $500 from its text-messaging fund raiser this weekend. Fans can donate $10 to the Bronco Stadium expansion project by texting BUILD to 27722.