Boise State Football: A Look Back at the Broncos Busy Week off the Field
For the Boise State Broncos and their fans, the last week has been one full of penalties, posturing, paperwork, preparation and planning.
With so much on the table and yet up in the air, the administration at Boise State certainly had its hands full this week with a very important decision. Should they stay or should they go? Of course, it is far more complex than that, but essentially Boise State had to decide to jump into the Big East ocean or go back to the Mountain West island.
While very few believed the Broncos would return to the Mountain West after already pledging to enter the Big East as a football only competitor in 2013, it was the fate of the Olympic sports that kept the situation tenuous.
The Broncos have been facing a very real dilemma about where to place their Olympic sports. They had previously made a deal to move those same said sports to the WAC. However, the WAC now appears to be dissolving and the game of musical conferences had the Broncos standing when the music stopped.
So, did Boise State resolve its issue this week? Not exactly, but there are indications that things are coming together. It is all part of a busy off-the-field week for Boise State and only one of the issues that the Broncos are facing.
Let's take a look back at a roller coaster week for Bronco Nation.
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One story that got a bit overlooked this week in all the conference shuffle was the fact that the NCAA has agreed to review the sanctions imposed on the Broncos last year.
If you remember Boise State was penalized for secondary violations on the football side, but because of major violations in other sports, the football team got hit with what appeared to be excessive penalties. Well, it seems the NCAA now agrees that they were indeed aggressive.
In an Associated Press article posted on ESPN.com, it states that the NCAA agreed the reduction of three scholarships per year for three consecutive years was "excessive such that it constituted an abuse of discretion."
In the article, they quote Boise State President Bob Kustra.
"We are pleased that the Appeals Committee agreed in the case of the scholarships. We will await a decision from the Infractions Committee on the final scholarship penalty,"
What does this mean for Boise State? It means that a new decision on scholarship reduction is on the way. How many scholarships will Boise State get back? Only time will tell, but it is certainly good news for Boise State and their fans.
Posturing and Paperwork
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Last week, and especially Saturday, June 30, Twitter was blowing up with Boise State rumors. Chris Maathuis from Channel 8 Sports in Las Vegas tweeted out a shocking headline.
"#BoiseState coming back to the #MWC . Details are coming up on #8NewsNow So my Saturday will be busy after all."
This tweet caused many to shake their heads and wonder. Of course, it then caused computer screens and handheld devices everywhere to light up with rumors and speculation. What followed was a comical barrage of pontification, rumors, insults and uncategorized banter not fit for reprint.
Many mocked the Broncos as if it were a done deal that they were going back to the Mountain West, while others were angry that they would do such a thing.
Of course, it all turned out to be nothing more than a bad source and an untrue headline. In the end BSU sent notice to every MWC institution and the conference itself by the deadline that it would be indeed leaving for the Big East in 2013.
Bronco Nation became "Procrasta Nation" as they finished their paperwork to depart the MWC with just under two hours to spare. One has to believe that it was all part of a bigger plan to weigh all the options and to position the Olympic sports in the best situation to succeed.
Preparation and Planning
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So, now that the dust has settled and the Big East course is set, what comes next for the Broncos?
Well, the biggest issue remaining is the placing of the Olympic Sports in a stable conference by 2013. The first choice for the Broncos was the WAC, but because of its demise BSU is trying hard to get into the Big West.
The Big West is a conference that currently includes nine California schools along with new member Hawaii as an Olympic sports only participant with the Warriors football program competing in the Mountain West.
San Diego State will enter their Olympic sports into the Big West in 2013 when it joins Boise State in the Big East as a football only member. Boise State is hoping to follow their example. The Broncos have been in active talks with the conference, but have apparently not yet come to terms.
Tom Scott had an interesting article on KTVB.com. He quotes a unique source extensively who seems to have insight that others don't have.
Mark Patton, brother of BSU tennis coach Greg Patton and longtime columnist for the Santa Barbara News-Press, says the Big West didn’t take a vote on Boise State’s prospective membership in a conference call Tuesday, primarily because the league didn’t perceive there to be enough “yes” votes…yet. “There’s some financial things still up in the air, and that’s delayed it from happening.”
So, from the sounds of it, Boise State needs to pony up some more cash. Which, is probably why Boise State waited until the last hour to withdraw from the Mountain West Conference. Perhaps they were using the timing as leverage to get the Big East to assist them in the money needed to make a deal.
Of course, this is all speculation and guess work, but it makes a bit more sense why the Broncos would have waited until the last minute to make it official.
So where does Boise State go from here?
Since they officially announced the departure from the MWC, it seems that the administration must be comfortable enough with whatever is going on behind the scenes.
Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman published an article concerning the Broncos situation and what the future might hold. In that article he states that the Big West will vote on the membership of the Broncos by the "beginning of the school year."
In the same article, Murphy quotes Boise State President Bob Kustra about the future of the Bronco's Olympic Sports.
“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.”
From the sounds of it, Boise State seems to be in a good position to be included in the Big West. Maybe there is a backup plan as well, but only time will tell. As it sits now, it appears that the future is a bit less nerve-racking for the administration at Boise State.
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Boise State made the right decision in joining the Big East. The competition is a step up and the money will only help the Broncos expand and compete at a higher level.
Some have criticized the Broncos for taking such a leap. Some of those same critics complain about geography and travel costs. However, the geography only helps the recruiting process and long distance travel has always been a tradition for the Broncos. While in the WAC, they traveled from Louisiana to Hawaii and several points in between.
With the way the Big East schedule will be set up, the Broncos will only have four road games in conference each season.
Two of those games each year will be west of the Mississippi, which only leaves two games back east. That is of course if the Big East can land another western partner. However, even if they don't, the Broncos will have rotating years where they will have a third game in the east.
Either way, the travel costs will be far less than people imagine.
Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman recently broke down the travel costs for the Broncos as a member of the Big East in an excellent article. In that article Murphy concludes that travel costs will only increase by $160,193.
Meanwhile the Broncos stand to earn $5 million to $9 million more per season as a member of the Big East Conference, depending on which estimate you choose to believe. On paper, at least, it seems to be a no-brainer for Boise State.
Better competition, more money, a bigger recruiting market, more national exposure and intriguing matchups. No matter what critics might say, the Big East is a great choice for the Broncos.