Idaho President: 'TV networks like ESPN are now running major college athletic affiliations'

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

Conference realignment is poised to tear apart — and perhaps destroy – the Western Athletic Conference, conference home to Idaho's athletic department. The Vandals are likely to be one of just two football-playing members left in the league after the latest round of realignment concludes.

The school issued a public statement earlier this week. University President Duane Nellis posted the following statement on his Facebook page:

"I appreciate all the comments and concerns about Vandal athletics and the complicated situation we are currently facing with regards to the Western Athletic Conference. I want you all to know that we are in conversations daily about the state of the WAC and the future of athletics.

"Despite what you may believe or be feeling at this time, I am fighting hard for the University of Idaho. I am working with athletic director Rob Spear and we are looking for a positive outcome.

"It is clear from my many conversations with presidents and conference commissioners from across the country including many representing conferences in the west—the key variable for adding new teams is immediate media market. The fact that we are currently atop the WAC Commissioners Cup, have great success in student athlete graduation, are a top quality academic institution, and have invested and continue to invest in athletic facilities at our university seems to mean nothing.

"As you well know TV networks like ESPN are now running major college athletic affiliations not the NCAA. Please stand by us as we work to make this frustrating situation a positive one for the University of Idaho, its vandal alumni, family and friends."

School reaction

Conference realignment is poised to tear apart — and perhaps destroy – the Western Athletic Conference, conference home to Idaho's athletic department. The Vandals are likely to be one of just two football-playing members left in the league after the latest round of realignment concludes.

The Sun Belt is holding a press conference tomorrow to discuss changes to its league, likely the additions of WAC members Texas State and Texas-Arlington. Conference USA is preparing to add WAC members Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana Tech as part of a major overhaul, according to CBSSports.com, and the Mountain West is ready to take Utah State and San Jose State from the WAC>

That would leave Idaho and New Mexico State as the only football-playing members of the WAC. Here is my story from Tuesday's paper about the changes and the implications for Idaho.

Idaho, which until Tuesday had not commented on the potential changes, issued a statement.

"Conference realignment has been a major story in college athletics for several years now. A growing appetite for more funding and a steady flow of television and other media dollars feeding that appetite has resulted in conference alignments and realignments. That uncertainty continues today," the university said in a release.

"Over the past several weeks, President Nellis and director of athletics Rob Spear have worked actively to advocate for the University during this recent shift in conference realignment. We are disappointed in the recent changes that are driven not by tradition, academic quality, competitiveness, or the student experience, but by money.

... "We believe our strong presence in the Northwest media markets is being overlooked during this crucial evaluation period. We are a presence in both the Spokane and Boise media markets, which extends our reach throughout the entire Inland Northwest."

The full statement is below.

UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO REACTION TO PENDING CONFERENCE RE-ALIGNMENT

"Conference realignment has been a major story in college athletics for several years now. A growing appetite for more funding and a steady flow of television and other media dollars feeding that appetite has resulted in conference alignments and realignments. That uncertainty continues today.

"Over the past several weeks, President Nellis and director of athletics Rob Spear have worked actively to advocate for the University during this recent shift in conference realignment. We are disappointed in the recent changes that are driven not by tradition, academic quality, competitiveness, or the student experience, but by money.

"Our student-athletes continue high rates of success on and off the field. The Vandals currently are atop the Western Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Cup standings and have been rewarded often for their academic successes.

"We believe our strong presence in the Northwest media markets is being overlooked during this crucial evaluation period. We are a presence in both the Spokane and Boise media markets, which extends our reach throughout the entire Inland Northwest.

"As we anticipate future conference movement, we continue to believe strongly that athletes are students first and the experience for them and our fans is first and foremost. We will continue to work diligently to most strongly position the University of Idaho."

1336089541 Idaho President: 'TV networks like ESPN are now running major college athletic affiliations' Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Well crafted statement

Overlooked? Dudes, you get a few thousand fans in the Dome to support the sport that's behind conference shuffling. You are who you are. End of story.

On the plus side

Now with only New Mexico State to compete with, they have a 50/50 chance of winning the WAC {Was A Conference!}

Don't be so. . .

Don't be so rough there JLandon. I admit, I have absolutlely no love for the Vandulls, but at the same time, they are trying to survive, as any of us would if we were in their shoes. Do you know why college football is looking at a 4 + 1 system? It is prepping for the four super conferences to go to 16 teams. Would you be saying the same thing if Boise St. wasn't being considered to be part of the super four? I know plenty of people who say Boise's viewership isn't worth shaking a stick at, after all, isn't Boise ranked at 133 or something. Talk about being overlooked.

Huh?...

Im not being rough at all. Im not sure where you live or if you attend games and scrimmages, but theres a huge difference in both the city and product between the two schools. Would I be saying the same thing? Yes, because theres no point in comparing apples to oranges. Its like saying "Dont make fun of Subarus, you could of owned one once."

My apologies. . .

My apologies, misunderstanding on my part. For the record, I have been alive for quite some time and therefore can agree with you on what you said about the differences. FYI, I owned two Subarus, worst three years of my life.

ha great post...

I get what you're saying tho. We shouldn't throw stones because I have no doubt the big boys don't want us anywhere near a two game playoff.

Yikes!

I'm curios for your take on the whole situation. So there are approx. 120 FBS schools, 4 super conferences with 16 teams. The math shows that 64 teams will be given special privileges while approx. 56 teams will get shafted. What possibilities are there that would keep BSU out of the picture? I heard it said that the four super conferences will be the PAC-12, B1G, SEC and Big 12, while the Big East and ACC will just be another conference. Is it possible that with these two conferences raped by the supers there will be no room for BSU. Rumors have been circulating about the Big 12 or the PAC 12 inviting BSU, of which rumors I can't find a shred of evidence to support either, so therefore dismiss them. We both know that the B1G and SEC won't take 'em. Both have superiority complexes and are too far away. (I say that as BSU heads into the Big East). Their only chances after that are either the PAC-12 or the Big 12 and last I heard, the PAC-12 wants nothing to do with BSU. So is our last hope in the Big 12 or will the PAC-12 invite BSU. If either do, do you think it will be out of necessity?

thruandthry

Those are great unknown questions. Razor, bsu43, windex, 81 and others will no doubt have better answers and I hope they weigh in.

Of the 64 teams with 4 super conferences being discussed, I personally believe that could be at least 4 or 5 years away, if not longer (Now certain things could make the process of organizing super conferences speed up or slow down. Lots of variables there). If true however, the Broncos have 5 years to continue to be among the "new" elite and try to be a constant and consistent Top 25 program every year. There will always be old blood who wants nothing more than to keep the more traditional teams together and exclude the Boise States in the new super conferences. So be it. I think the Broncos are doing everything in their power to bring "evidence" to a Pac 12 or Big 12 five years down the road. Stadium expansion, a Top 10 football complex, fan growth and support and last and most important, the ability to win 10-12 games every single year.

So, will it be out of necessity? Thats literally the multi-million dollar question.

Whats your thoughts?

§ Better answer? Maybe.

Because geography is still a consideration, I commissioned a geography major to ássess possible realignment scenarios 3-4 years down the road. The following is her report, everywhere like such as:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww

All seriousness aside, the recent BCS decision to go with a "Plus 1" (from among the top four teams, formula tbd) probably doesn't do anything to improve BSU's (or any other of the party crashers') chances of getting into one of the "semis". The AQ and non-AQ designations may even get tossed, but that won't change anything either ... especially if the goal is making one of those two (rotating) bowls that will host the semis.

A four-team playoff seems like a baby step by the BCS ... maybe to assuage the critics and keep problems stemming from outside influence (i.e., Congress) at bay. "See, see, we've opened it up." Well, not really.

Now, if it were eight teams and three extra games to determine the NC, then I'd buy it. But, that would dramatically increase the chance of an unwanted interloper doing the unthinkable.

It's crystal ball time as far as future conference affiliation for BSU, geography notwithstanding. Superconferences? I'm ambivalent at present. Sixteen doesn't seem all that much different than twelve. If, however, the "grand plan" is to go to 4x16 and have the four conference champs take those four semi spots every year, then we'd have a lockout and the effective secession of those 64. Whatever happens will all be tied to money and fat TV contracts.

http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/38095/playoffs-playoffs-five-is-the-new-no-3

You caught that?!

I stated "I personally believe" and almost added "that US Americans" but didnt know who would get it. That geography major sure is pretty, but dumber than a rock.

Your last paragraph pretty much nails it.

§ Yeah, did catch it.

You just don't hear "I personally believe" all that often. If it's your belief, how could it be other than personal?

Such as and therefore.

...and everywhere like such as and....

...so we will be able to build up our future for our...

CLASSIC.

§ Almost as if on cue

"Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany says a model being considered for a four-team college football playoff would give preference to conference champions ranked in the top six nationally."

If four 16-team BCS conferences emerge in subsequent realignment, it would be pretty hard for any one of those four conference champions NOT to make the top six nationally.

"Give preference": the squeeze is on.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/7884581/conference-champions-wold-get-preference-college-football-playoff-idea

I don't think. . .

I don't think much will change in the near future, like you, this could be at least 5 years in the future. That said, I didn't believe that the Big East would have had a near death experience and invite BSU and a whole slew of other non-AQs recently either. I've been speaking with other fans around here (eastern Idaho) and we've concluded that if the Big 12 somehow dies, then BSU will be left out. If not, since the PAC was looking to steal the Oklahoma and Texas brothers, the PAC would have to look elsewhere. Unless they want to become the next Big East (the second national conference) they'd have to look more closely to home. The SEC, B1G and Big 12 would take the leftovers from the ACC and Big East, leaving the PAC with little room, or so we hope. As far as a necissity? That is the multi-million dollar question but could be the answer. I think you're right: stadium expanions, top 10 fb program and being ranked in the top 25 every year, that's all BSU can do and hope it pays off in the end. Also, with Kustra wanting to make BSU a major research university, the first major research university in Idaho, it will be hard to overlook them when all is said and done. Hopefully, the said and done happens before realignment does.

Eastern Idaho Fans?

You hanging out at Sand-Trap in Pocy, or Buffalo Wild Wings in IF?

Lots of Vandals in this area of Idaho....

Nope. . .

Nope. I work with at least ten or so people that are BSU fans or college football fans. When we get together, which is almost daily, you can just imagine what our conversations are like.

Re: Idaho's Conference Woes

It's not a good situation for the NCAA when entire conferences are destroyed as a result of money and greed. The big boys -- no, that does NOT include Boise State -- are in the process of becoming more and more exclusive. It's only a matter of time until more conference/school casualties occur. Months, years...

That said, there is a reason there are minimal requirements set for the FBS level. It's costly. Requiring a school to either have a 30,000 seat stadium OR average at least 15,000 fans indicates there is both the interest AND financial support necessary to be successful. Fudging those numbers doesn't do anybody any favors.

Also, it doesn't help credibility with the school or fans to talk out one side of their mouths that they need to play with academic peers; therefore, they have no interest in being in a conference with the likes of Sacramento State, EWU, Portland State... Then, these very same people talk out the other side of their mouths about how great it would be if schools such as Sacramento State, EWU, and PSU (just to name a few) would jump up a division. You can't have it both ways. Heck, last time I looked at the Carnegie Classifications for schools, the following were classified as "RU/H," (research, high): University of Idaho, Idaho State University, University of Montana, University of North Dakota, Northern Arizona University, Portland State University. Montana State University and UC Davis actually rank above ("very high").

Probably time to swallow some pride.

You go and do that, stadium tramp.

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"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

Carnegie Classifications for schools

Where was Boise State in the Carnegie Classifications for schools?

They have the...

#1 truck driving school in the country. Communications is next - where all the football players bone up for a career - at Wendys or McDonalds.

There's that

smell again......

truck driving

The #1 truck driving school in the country is now part of CWI.

Feeder league for BSU

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"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

As a Boise State fan..

I must say that as an Idahoan, as long as Idaho isn't playing BSU, I'm always rooting for the Vandals. Even with the inebriated fan base up north that scratches cars paint jobs, spitting on BSU fans, etc. at the Vandal home games.

However, I would like to see the Vandals be able to compete, and win.
This is just plain sad and I hate to see it happen.

Agreed

Not much else to say.

Those that live in glass houses.....

You started nice but turned ugly fast. I had $5,000 damage to my truck because I had a Vandal sticker on it. The BSU fan dropped this wallet so the police had an easy time finding him. Now look at police records. More arrest for alchol related incidents on BSU campus than on the UofI campus....this is a fact. The drug arrests on BSU campus is 3 times higher than Idaho's. Another fact. So your idiot president can say what he wants and you can all spout it, but now you've heard the facts.

Really?

I am very surprised you could own a truck worth $5,000.00

I can make up stats too!

U of I has more instances of farm animal rape than BSU. It's a fact.

BSU teaches more important things

How not to raise undue attention when you f#$t on your bike 101B

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"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

They Were Warned

For many years now the Vandal faithful and more importantly the administrators of the UofI have turned a blind eye toward athletics at the highest level. Living in the past is a strong trait of a Vandal fan so when they were warned that the facilities they had were way to small, all they did was bow their necks and refuse to listen because the Kibbie Dome was "World Class." It comes as no surprise that when the warnings that no one would want a school with such small facilities comes to fruition, the administrators do the one thing that exemplifies a Vandal... They blame someone else. Idaho is the kid that never gets picked or is picked last. For a school that so often turns criticism about their lowly athletics into arguments about academics, maybe it's time to accept the stance as an academic school and concentrate everything into that instead of sitting around waiting to be picked. Forget about conference affiliation and stick with what they think they do best... academics.

If I knew what the he11 that had to do with anything...

It's the LEAGUE, stupid!

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"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

I didn't think things like this

happen to "Flagship" universities...Sunny...

hee hee

sunny made a funny

Overstepping

Sunny, overstepping a bit there, guy! Usually you're cool; this was not.

Gotta love these Cupcake State...

honks and homers piling on Idaho. LOL! Pounding their silly football chest like they are really something when their podunk college offers truck driving as a major. Most of these Cupcake State t*rds talking smack are burger flippers at Burger King or Wendys living at home with mommy. Hey Cupcake State - you got the nad to schedule anyone? No - noboby wants to play us because they are scared. How are the rest of your teams doing? Uh, our tennis team won the conference -whatever one we are in! LOL!

Anyone else

smell that?

Yep...

I thought it was pretty funny, and so true.

I find it funny. . .

I find it funny that anyone would make fun of a school that offers truck driving as a major. Do they? I don't know, perhaps I should do some research if I ever get bored enough to look up useless facts. Did it ever occur to pony that truck drivers deliver all the little goods they like. Go to the supermarket and pick up groceries, a truck driver delivered those groceries. Go to an electronics store and pick up a game or other software, a truck driver delivered that too. Truck drivers do a ton and whoever thanks them, surely not the likes of pony. Not to mention that truck drivers earn more in a year than most do in five. Go ahead pony, laugh it up, laugh at those same people who bring joy to millions, but rarely ever get thanked for it. Hey pony, how much do you make in five years?

Big Sky and Idaho: Reunited

Big Sky and Idaho: Reunited and it feels so good....

Quotes

Quotes from a Vandal friend over the years :

"There's a mystique about Vandal football.".
1996 after beating Boise State in Bronco Stadium

"You can have your 1-AA National Championship...I'll take a bowl victory over that!"
1998 after Idaho beat Southern Miss in the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl

BSU Academics......

Congrats to all those future Windy's employees (sic)

http://news.boisestate.edu/update/2012/04/30/boise-state-to-celebrate-universitys-largest-commencement-award-record-number-of-degrees/

Boise State will be 9-3 in

2012....

and in debt too....

cash in your silver !!!!

Bet You Can Count

On one hand how many times any of the other colleges in Idaho have ever been 9 - 3. 9 - 3 for BSU is a down year but they still go to a bowl game and likely win it. 9 - 3 for Idaho is a "Dream Season." No need however to cash in the silver because BSU will have money coming in from their conference... A conference that they were invited to.

BSU will be laughing all the way to the bank

and you will still be a bozo

Two words Ugly

Track record.....

New needle

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"foreignoregonian" is not anonymous

It is my identity and my philosophy

Would you prefer everyone to be called 'Poster'?

bsu4342....

Boise State football has always had a good track record....

However, they have gone from a good track record to a cfb team of National Prominance....

I think the Big East is their Financial Dead-end....

If BSU gets into the PAC-12, their income will triple in value and will no longer need to cash in bonds....

I was talking about

your track record.....

Big difference.

Ugly,

That is one big "IF" and a bit of pie in the sky rhetoric in re Pac12.

ugly

i'll give you a chance to win your money back.