Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Big East dilemma: What will Boise State do?

Numerous sources, including ESPN.com, are now reporting the possibility of a football merger involving the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA and Big East Conference that could forever change the face of college athletics.

Commissioners of the three conferences are reportedly set to meet tomorrow in New York to discuss the possibility of forming a 28- to 32-member conference for football only.  The key in all of this could be Boise State, which carries the distinction of being the country's biggest college football power outside of the major conferences.  Thus, the Broncos may have the most leverage of all in negotiations.

With recent talk of Boise State perhaps leaving the Mountain West to join the Big East in football only, the biggest remaining question is this:  Where would the Broncos' other sports go?

Would Boise State's other sports return to the Western Athletic Conference, which it just left a few months ago?  Would the Broncos' other sports return to the Big Sky Conference that they competed in over a decade ago?  Where would the Broncos' up and coming softball program go?  Will the Broncos choose to remain in the MW in all sports, but still join the 3-conference consortium that we're tentatively calling the "Big Mountain USA?"

These are just a few of the numerous questions that will be answered in the coming days and weeks.  It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.  As ESPN.com asks, if Boise State decides to join the Big East in football and attempts to return its sports to the WAC, will the WAC then lose Utah State to the Mountain West?

The list of scenarios seems unending, and nothing seems a sure bet at this point.

Stay tuned...

UPDATE: ESPN.com is now reporting that Boise State officials have been in contact with the Big West Conference about possibly moving its non-football sports to that league.  The Broncos competed in the Big West from 1996 to 2001 before moving to the WAC.  Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson has said Boise State would not be allowed to keep its other sports (including softball) under the MW umbrella should the school decide to take its football program to a different conference. Again, stay tuned...