By Brian Murphy
Boise State is set to join the Big West for most non-football sports, Boise State President Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday.
"No doubt as far as I'm concerned — (from) everything I've heard, every e-mail I've read, every conversation I've had," Kustra said.
The only hold-up is a formal vote of the Big West presidents.
"It's not done in terms of one final vote by the presidents themselves and the only reason that's not done is try to get 10 presidents together in middle August before school starts. Once school starts, there'll be a vote," Kustra said at the dedication of Boise's Dona Larsen Park, which will house the Broncos' track and field and softball programs.
"In the meantime, there have been meetings with athletics directors, with faculty athletic representatives. I've been working closely with (Big West) Commissioner Dennis Farrell. Every indication we have is positive."
Boise State is scheduled to move its highly successful football program to the Big East for the 2013 season. The Broncos were scheduled to move their other programs to the Western Athletic Conference, but with the league facing collapse, Boise State has turned its attention to the Big West.
Boise State is a full member of the Mountain West for the 2012-13 season.
The Big East, Kustra said, has played a large role in helping Boise State gain acceptance into the Big West — especially in the days and hours leading up to the Broncos' June 30 deadline for withdrawing from the Mountain West.
"In those days, I had to go to the Big East and say, 'You guys are not neutral arbiters here. You must help us make this happen.' So the Big East Interim Commissioner Joe Bailey deserves credit for jumping in," Kustra said.
"It was heavy duty conversations until midnight of June 30th. Frankly what we needed to know was that the Big East was with us, that they stood alongside of us in helping make this happen. We know the power of these conferences and we know the Big West respects the Big East. It was important that the Big West saw this as not only Boise State's opportunity but an opportunity for the Big East as well to solve the problem they had with both Boise State and San Diego State.
"If we had not made the decision we made, San Diego State, according to them, would probably not have been able to hang in there. And the Big West couldn't handle that. They couldn't lose San Diego State. It was a true partnership in every step of the way."
Kustra said there was initial concerns from two or three Big West presidents, but that financial support from Boise State and the Big East has helped alleviate those concerns.
"It is a bus conference. They were concerned about the flights to Boise. We'll deal with that from a financial standpoint," he said. "... We're going to pay. The Big East is going to participate in that. Again, when it's all said and done it will be a more favorable agreement or arrangement than we feel we had under the WAC and it will also be one that is financially attractive to the Big West and takes care of concerns that they've had since the beginning."
Boise State would need affiliate agreements for wrestling (currently plays in the Pac-12), gymnastics (currently in WAC) and women's swimming and diving (currently in Mountain West) as the Big West does not sponsor those sports.
The members of the Big West in 2013-14: Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Hawaii, San Diego State.
Kustra on new Big East commissioner Mike Aresco
The Big East hired Mike Aresco, a CBS Sports executive vice president, as its new commissioner Tuesday. Kustra was a member of the selection committee that chose Aresco. He said he was blown away by Aresco's resume and felt his television experience was key for a league that will negotiate a make-or-break TV deal this fall.
"Certainly you want integrity and familiarity with intercollegiate athletics, but who are we kidding? We must have somebody with significant media experience. Somebody who knows where the bodies are buried. Somebody who knows how to negotiate. Somebody who knows how much those companies are really holding back when they say this is the last and final offer. And that’s exactly what we got," Kustra said.
"This has come down to the fact that large conferences like the Big East must have very productive relationships with large media companies."
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