By Brian Murphy
The Idaho State Board of Education, which has so far avoided public comment on last month's firing of long-time Boise State Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier, issued a statement Tuesday in support of Boise State President Bob Kustra.
"We are in full support of Dr. Kustra and his decision. We appreciate the support that has been expressed for Dr. Bleymaier. We fully support however, Dr. Kustra and believe there is continued optimism for Boise State in all areas; academics, student life and athletics. It is a personnel matter and as such we’ll have no further comment. We need to remain focused on what is really paramount in Idaho; increasing educational opportunities and attainment for all Idahoans to secure a viable future," SBOE President Richard Westerberg wrote in the statement.
The statement comes two days after the Statesman published a guest opinion from former Bronco Athletic Association (BAA) president Rich Fedrizzi. Fedrizzi called on the State Board "to review this matter and at least have a hearing and consider reinstatement" of Bleymaier.
"Gene is the sacrificial lamb. Please don't sit by and let this pass without your serious consideration. It is your responsibility to the state, the institution and the individual," Fedrizzi wrote.
In the guest opinion, Fedrizzi wrote, "How does one man have the power to terminate the AD with 29 years at Boise State? Professors have tenure, what happened to the AD. Not even a review or a hearing? Letters to the SBOE have gone unanswered."
Kustra briefed board members before firing Bleymaier, though such notification was not required. The board received seven total letters on the firing, according to its spokesman.
Kustra said Bleymaier was fired because he wanted to new leadership in the wake of NCAA sanctions. Boise State's athletic department was found to lack of institutional control by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
"I determined that new leadership will be needed as we commit ourselves to the highest level of attention and enforcement of NCAA standards, and also continue to move Boise State athletics to the next level of success," Kustra said at the time of Bleymaier's firing.
You can follow Murph's Turf on Twitter.
You can find links to stories, photos and video by being a fan of Brian Murphy on Facebook.