Speculation Boise State would remain with the Mountain West circulated last summer, when the university’s paperwork for a Big East move was not filed until late on the final day. Because BSU followed through on June 30, it must pay the Big East’s $10 million exit fee, McMurphy reports.
Even with the hefty exit fee, this is more detrimental news for a conference that lost seven non-football members, was excluded from automatic qualification into the new playoff system, and parted with Rutgers and Louisville.
As one of the most successful football programs of the last decade, Boise State was the last ace-in-the-hole the Big East had in its negotiation for a new television contract. Losing a western member might also complicate the conference’s relationship with San Diego State, which is scheduled to join next season. U-T San Diego reported on Sunday that MWC commissioner Craig Thompson is interested in keeping the Aztecs in the fold. SDSU football reached its third consecutive bowl game this season, but has also become one of the faces of the league’s vastly improved basketball.
Like Boise State, San Diego State’s move to the Big East is football-only, with the university’s other sports going to the Big West. Such a move would be a decided step down for Aztec basketball, which has been a consistent top 25 program over the past three seasons.
The Big East has responded to the pillaging of its member by adding programs from Conference USA. Tulane and East Carolina are the most recent additions, joining UCF, Memphis, Houston and SMU. C-USA supplemented the Big East’s ranks the last time it was heavily raided in the mid-2000s, with the latter adding Louisville, Cincinnati and USF.
The other shoe to drop is the Big East’s handling of its incoming C-USA members, as well as 2015 addition Navy. The move date for the Midshipmen could be expedited.