By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Boise State will move its football program to the Big East and most of its other athletic programs to the Western Athletic Conference beginning with the 2013-14 school year. Here are key provisions of both deals:
Boise State will pay $2 million to join the Big East, payable over a five-year period with deductions from the school’s year-end revenue distribution, and $1 million to rejoin the WAC, payable over a three-year period. Boise State left the WAC in July after 10 years in the conference.
To exit the Mountain West, the Broncos will forfeit their 2012-13 revenue distribution — about $2.2 million. Boise State says it will not have to forfeit its bowl payout if it reaches a Bowl Championship Series game next year.
Big East buyout
The Big East buyout is $5 million, but the school negotiated a reduced buyout under certain situations. The buyout drops to $2.5 million if the conference doesn’t allocate at least 70 percent of the TV money in its new contract to the football-playing members; to $1 million if the Big East loses its automatic-qualifying status with the Bowl Championship Series; and to zero if the league doesn’t have “an acceptable Western travel partner” for the Broncos.
Once Boise State joins the conference, it will be required to give 27 months notice to depart.
The Big East has not established divisions, but Boise State President Bob Kustra expects a Western division of Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, Houston, Louisville and Cincinnati in 2013. That would put Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Connecticut, Central Florida and South Florida in the Eastern division. West Virginia also could be in the league that year but is trying to move to the Big 12 in 2012. “I don’t think West Virginia is going to be around,” Kustra said.
The schedule plan is for teams to play every team within their division and three teams in the other division for eight conference games. The two division winners will meet in a championship game, location TBA.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014. Navy is widely expected to replace one of them. Kustra hopes the 12th team comes from the West — and he hasn’t given up on Air Force or BYU, which turned down opportunities to join.
“I’d be all for working with the commissioner on making the Western division a real Western division,” he said.
The Big East will negotiate in good faith with Boise State to schedule home-and-home basketball agreements with member schools with a goal of four games per year — two in Boise and two in Big East arenas. The contract is not specific about the number of games or whether some of them will be women’s basketball games.
Boise State also agreed to try to schedule football games against WAC members, but there isn’t a contractual obligation.
“We are excited about the prospect of bringing some basketball teams in here that Boiseans don’t normally get to see,” Kustra said.
The Big East’s football contract with ESPN expires after the 2013 season and pays $3.7 million per school per year. The conference begins an exclusive renegotiation period with ESPN in September. Kustra said experts have told him those rights will fetch a minimum of $6 million per school, with a ceiling of $10 million to $12 million.
The Big East has no plans to change its name.
“If a conference called the Big Ten can have 12 schools, a conference called the Big East can have schools that are not necessarily in the East,” commissioner John Marinatto said.
The Big East did not require Boise State to give up its right to wear all-blue uniforms at home, unlike the Mountain West.