By Brian Murphy
Boise State President Bob Kustra said he and Athletic Director Mark Coyle have been "in discusisons" with the Big East on Monday and Tuesday.
"But there is nothing new to report at this point," Kustra said. "As previously stated, we are committed to the Big East Conference and intend to strengthen our conference with members who can contribute to a strong league."
Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said any talks between Boise State, San Diego State and BYU about remaining or re-joining the league have been at the school (and not conference) level.
"I'm aware of several conversations between ADs, coaches and even presidents, but I have not been in communication directly," Thompson said.
San Diego State press conference
San Diego State Athletic Director Jim Sterk held a press conference Tuesday to discuss conference realignment.
Here are the highlights:
• Sterk said Big East athletic directors were on a conference call with Commissioner Mike Aresco on Monday and Tuesday.
"It made me all the more proud to work with a guy like that. He's committed, smart, connected. He is a great leader," Sterk said. "It's important to have someone like that in that role."
• Sterk said he has not talked with Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson since May.
• Sterk said he believes in the Big East.
"I believe in the national strategy they have developed and I think it can really pay off," he said. "... I think the East-West strategy in football can work."
• Sterk said with the loss of Rutgers from the league, there is an opportunity to move Temple to the East Division and add another Western school.
• He said the Big East's television contract will be "significantly stronger than what we have right now (in the Mountain West)."
• Sterk said the difference between the Big East and the Mountain West on the field is a big one. "There is a big separation between where we are now and where we're going," Sterk said.
• Sterk said Aresco assured him that there is a lot of interest from other schools in joining the Big East.
• "We're a part of and moving forward with a national football conference. We made a strategic decision to do that last December and nothing's changed," Sterk said.
Rutgers announced Tuesday that it is joining the Big Ten, marking the latest defection from the Big East. Rutgers was a charter member of the Big East football conference, which formed in 1991.
"Although we are disappointed that Rutgers has decided to leave the Big East Conference, we wish them well. They have been a valued member of the Conference for many years," Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement.
"We realize that conference realignment is currently a fact of life in college sports. In the context of this realignment, changes in our membership have been taking place, including important additions. In fact, the Big East has expanded its scope with new members in California, Texas, Florida, Idaho, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
"As a result, the Big East has created a unique national football conference that is a factor in the BCS Championship, remains the nation’s strongest basketball conference top to bottom, and is a major force across the full spectrum of men’s and women’s college sports. We remain committed to, and confident in, the continued growth and vitality of the Big East Conference."
So what's next for the Big East?
The league could soon lose another member to the ACC, which is seeking a replacement for Maryland, which left for the Big Ten on Monday. Connecticut and Louisville are the most likely targets for the ACC.
This is happening as the league negotiates a make-or-break television contract. It was the lure of large television dollars that made the Big East attractive to Boise State and San Diego State in the first place.
Aresco, a former television executive with ESPN, is confident the league can still deliver a solid television deal.
What about Boise State?
The Broncos are scheduled to join the Big East on July 1 as a football-only member as part of a massive re-branding of the league, which is also adding San Diego State (football-only), Memphis, Houston, SMU and Central Florida.
ESPN and others reported that current Mountain West members Boise State and San Diego State and former Mountain West member BYU are talking with conference members about possibly returning to the league.
Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson seemed to confirm those talks in an interview with USA Today.
“A lot of people are talking to a lot of folks. ... Athletic directors talk, the coaches talk, their presidents talk,” Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson told USA Today.. “I think everybody is trying to monitor as best they can. Today’s announcement came very quickly. Everyone is trying to assimilate it. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I would think maybe some of the logical reasons to have left the Mountain West no longer apply."
But Boise State President Bob Kustra denied such conversations Monday night — eventually.
"We are in contact with the Big East Conference office and are evaluating the information that has come forward regarding conference realignment the past few days," Kustra said in a statement released at 9:30 p.m. Mountain.
At 10:24 p.m., Boise State issued another statement from Kustra: "In following up on my statement from earlier this evening and because of a report that Boise State has been talking with the Mountain West, I want to make it clear that Boise State has had no discussions with the Mountain West Conference in the past couple of weeks. We are in constant communication with presidents and athletic directors of the Big East and we intend to strengthen our the conference by adding members who can contribute to a strong conference."
What about San Diego State?
San Diego State Athletic Director Jim Sterk was more forceful in his denial to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“I have not spoken to the (Mountain West) commissioner since May, and there’s been no communication with them,” Sterk told the San Diego Union-Trbune. “Our president has just been on a call with Boise State, and they haven’t had any communication with the Mountain West either, and the president at BYU hasn’t had communications with them either.”
Sterk said the Big East could regroup if it lost Rutgers and, potentially, Connecticut.
“It’s not great to lose UConn or Rutgers, but if that happens, it gives us an opportunity to have less travel in the Western division,” Sterk told the paper. “We pick up someone further west, and we’re in better shape than yesterday’s Big East.”
When asked if he saw any merits in reopening talks with the Mountain West, Sterk told the Union-Tribunte, “Not at this point.”
Petersen coaching rumors — again
Cal fired head coach Jeff Tedford on Tuesday, igniting the latest round of "Chris Petersen is going to School X" rumors.
Read more about the Cal situation.