By Brian Murphy
The Big West presidents will vote before the start of the school year on Boise State's membership status, Boise State announced Sunday afternoon. Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell confirmed that his league would vote on Boise State before the start of the academic calendar. The Broncos are hoping to move the majority of their non-football sports to the California-based league in 2013.
Boise State said it is having "ongoing, substantive discussions" with the Big West. In May, the Big West said it would "entertain" a membership application from Boise State. Last week, the conference declined to vote on Boise State during a conference call.
The Broncos were scheduled to move their non-football sports to the WAC, but that league has been decimated by defections and has just four other on-going members for 2013 (Idaho, New Mexico State, Denver and Seattle), leaving Boise State to explore other options.
Boise State needs eight votes (out of 10) to gain acceptance into the Big West. The Big West added Hawaii as a member Sunday. In 2013-14, the league will consist of Hawaii, San Diego State, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara.
Boise State submitted its official withdrawal notice to the Mountain West late Saturday night, just hours ahead of the league's deadline. The withdrawal clears the way for Boise State to move its successful football program to the Big East in 2013. The Idaho Statesman reported the withdrawal Saturday night. The Broncos acknowledged the move Sunday.
"There is no doubt that conference affiliation is a difficult and complex issue, but I am very pleased where we stand today and excited for the future prospects of all of our Bronco sports," Boise State President Bob Kustra said in a statement, his first public comments on the Broncos' conference situation.
Boise State will compete in the Mountain West for the 2012-13 season in all sports except gymnastics (WAC) and wrestling (Pac-12).
The Big West also does not sponsor gymnastics and wrestling. The league also does not currently have women's swimming and diving. Boise State has won three consecutive conference titles in the sport.
Hawaii (football only), Fresno State and Nevada joined the Mountain West on Sunday. Commissioner Craig Thompson issued the following statement:
“On July 1 we begin a new era, officially welcoming Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada as members of the Mountain West. Our Conference will be further enhanced when San Jose State and Utah State join the fold a year from now. We are positioning ourselves strategically for the future – one that will include a dramatically different structure for the college football postseason as evidenced by the changes made earlier this week.
“This collective group of institutions in the Mountain West represents a logical geographic base in the western United States, and brings with it a legacy of spirited competition that in some cases goes back 100 years. It is a Conference with a demonstrated performance history, including several Top 25 football successes, many NCAA basketball tournament triumphs and continued Olympic sport excellence.
“We look forward enthusiastically to the successful development of the new Mountain West.”
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