By Brian Murphy
The Mountain West said it had "in-depth discussions" with Boise State about keeping the Broncos in the league in the future, but that the school late last week opted to "continue with its plan to move to various other conferences."
The league also confirmed that Boise State "has not yet officially withdrawn from the Mountain West."
The Mountain West said it was a "one-time opportunity" for Boise State to reconsider its position.
The statement from Commissioner Craig Thompson to the Idaho Statesman came hours after Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle met with the media in Florida at the Big East meetings and denied full-blown meetings with the Mountain West. Coyle said he attended the Mountain West meetings "a few weeks ago."
Boise State is scheduled to leave the Mountain West in July 2013 and move its football program to the Big East. The Broncos were slated to move their other sports teams to the WAC, but with the league on the verge of collapse, Boise State is still seeking a stable home for its other programs.
Last week, Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell said his league would "entertain" Boise State's membership in the California-based conference.
"We continue to explore all options. We’ve got ... 19 sports, we want to make sure we find a good home for all our sports and we continue to examine all of our options and continue to gather information in the changing landscape," Coyle said.
At the meeting, Coyle said "nothing's changed" in regard to Boise State's plans to join the Big East.
Big East Interim Commissioner Joe Bailey told media in Florida that he expects Boise State to join the league, but acknowledged the problem that Boise State faces with its non-football programs.
"Boise clearly has a situation with their Olympic sports, and they're trying like mad to figure out the best way to handle that," Bailey said. "We the conference are going to do everything we possibly can to help them. ... If you're going to ask if there's any uneasiness as far as the Big East is concerned, absolutely not. For a whole variety of reasons, the conference is a fabulous platform for Boise."
CBSSports.com reported earlier this month that Boise State had yet to officially withdraw from the Mountain West.
"Inasmuch as Boise State has not yet officially withdrawn from the Mountain West and expressed interest in examining options, it made strategic sense for the Conference to thoroughly explore the possibility of retaining Boise State as a member," Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement to the Idaho Statesman. "We had in-depth discussions with Boise State and made a very favorable proposal, but BSU has decided to continue with its plan to move to various other conferences. We are excited about the continued development of our membership configuration going forward and will proceed aggressively with our plans for future success."
Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle addressed the media at the Big East meetings in Ponte Vedra, Fla., about conference realignment.
(Note: I am not attending the meetings, but got the Coyle quotes from a media member that was there.)
Here is what Coyle had to say:
• On the Broncos' commitment to the Big East: "Nothing’s changed. We’re here at the conference meetings. It’s great to learn a great deal about the conference and the direction and all that."
• On the placement of Boise State's other sports: "We continue to explore all options. We’ve got ... 19 sports, we want to make sure we find a good home for all our sports and we continue to examine all of our options and continue to gather information in the changing landscape."
• On the future of the WAC: "We still have conversations with them. We’re trying to gather information. It’s changing for everybody. We’re in a unique spot because of the WAC and what they’ve gone through with some of the transformation they’ve had. We continue to talk with everybody and try
to find the best long-term decision for our institution."
• On why the Big East is the best home for the football program: "When that decision was made five months ago, it gave our program an opportunity on a national level with our institution and what we’re trying to do. We feel comfortable with that."
• On whether Boise State has had conversations with the Mountain West about staying?: "No. I attended MWC meetings a few weeks ago. We’re in that transitional year. Again, we want to continue to evaluate the landscape and make the best long-term decision for our program."
• On whether BCS automatic-qualification status played into Boise State's decision to join the Big East: "No, not at all. When the decision was made, that was part of the thought process, that the AQ would go away, so that was not part of the process when we made that decision."
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