By Brian Murphy
Boise State is still considering moving its football program to the Big East this fall — one year ahead of its scheduled conference change — but the Broncos want to cover the cost of any move and find a stable home for their other sports programs first, Athletic Director Mark Coyle told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday morning.
“Before we make any move, we need to make sure we cover all our expenses,” Coyle said. “If a transition takes place now, there are expenses we need to cover before we make a move.”
The Big East has just seven football-playing schools for the 2012 season after West Virginia reached a settlement to depart for the Big 12 this fall. West Virginia is reportedly paying $20 million in exit fees to the Big East, money that could be used to help Boise State leave the Mountain West.
It would cost Boise State between $7.5 million and $9 million to leave the Mountain West this fall. The Broncos could owe the Western Athletic Conference — where their other spots programs are headed — additional money as well for joining that league a year early.
Boise State is paying a $2 million entrance fee, spread over five years, to join the Big East. Boise State is also paying a $1 million entrance fee, spread over three years, to join the WAC.
Coyle did not have an exact figure on what it would cost Boise State.
“It changes by the minute. One second you’re here, the next second you’re over there,” Coyle said. “It’s a complex, shifting landscape.”
Coyle said there is no drop-dead date for the talks between Boise State and the Big East, but “there is a sense of urgency.”
“With the departure of West Virginia, it’s created this talk about somebody jumping to the Big East. We have had those conversations, but it’s not a simple black and white answer,” he said. “Yes, we want to make sure that football has a solid home, but we have to have a solid home for our 18 other sports.”
Coyle said the decision by members of the Mountain West and Conference USA to create a new league — and pursue expansion — is a “new twist in the conversation.” It is possible the new league could add members from the WAC, further destabilizing that league.
“We’ve got to find the right fit for all our programs,” Coyle said. “We can’t lose focus of the student-athletes.”
• Coyle said the Broncos are looking for an additional home football game in 2012. Boise State needs another game, no matter what league it is in.
"We've looked hard to have a home game here in Boise," Coyle said.
— If Boise State remains in the Mountain West, it can play 13 games because of its game at Hawaii.
— If Boise State moves to the Big East, it can schedule an additional non-conference game because the league plays just seven conference games as opposed to eight in the Mountain West.
• WAC Commissioner Karl Benson, a Boise State graduate, is expected to be named Sun Belt Conference commissioner Thursday.
• Four TCU players, including standout linebacker Tanner Brock, were among 17 TCU students arrested for selling drugs in a drug sting at the college.
• Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes that Boise State will regret moving to the Big East. It is an interesting piece about which schools will regret their recent moves and which ones won't.