The decision for Boise State to stay in the Mountain West came much quicker than expected. Today the Mountain West formally announced that Boise State will remain as a full member of the conference in 2013. There will be no switch to the Big East as had been formerly planned by the Broncos.
The Mountain West was able to renegotiate their TV deal with CBS earlier in December. With that deal in place Craig Thompson was able to add in some incentives for Boise State that made it worth their while to stay in the Mountain West.
Boise State homes are not part of the inventory that CBS will have to select from and they can be sold to another network. That would allow the Broncos to try and get a majority of their games on ESPN if the mother ship wanted to pony up the cash. The rule forbidding the Broncos from wearing their all-blue uniforms for home conference games has also been done away with.
Those are the two specific provisions that will directly benefit the Broncos. There are a number of other items are could certainly help Boise State but can also help the rest of the conference members as well.
Here are the specifics as laid out by BSU President Bob Kustra:
"In return, Boise State and other teams in the conference who may appear on national TV (ESPN, ESPN2, NBC, CBS, Fox) will be paid a bonus of $300,000 per game, with an additional $200,000 for a Saturday game. This innovative approach accesses for both the institutions and the conference the TV value brought to the conference by its teams, while treating all of its members, to the extent possible, in an equitable and fair way.
"Finally, the MWC is implementing a system whereby any member whose football performance results in payments from the BCS to the conference will share directly in those revenues on a 50/50 basis with the conference, thus enjoying a direct reward for their team's success.
So if Boise or another school thinks it is worth playing on a Thursday night on ESPN, there will be an incentive to do so. If they can play on Saturday it is an even bigger payday. Wyoming is certain to benefit from this clause with several big road games scheduled in future years.
2013 - @ Nebraska
2014 - @ Oregon, @ Michigan State
2016 - @ Nebraska
2017 - @ Missouri
With the new playoff system starting in 2014 the Mountain West wants to make sure that is the top conference of the group of five. The highest ranked team from that group will earn an automatic berth into one of premier championship games with a lucrative payout. Boise has a history of being the top non-AQ team but it is nice to know that Wyoming would benefit handsomely if the Cowboys put together a really big season.
With Boise back on board the next big question is "Who is next?"
The Mountain West now sits at 11 football members and 10 all sport schools since Hawaii is a football only member.
San Diego State is still headed for the Big East but their position likely softened with Boise State no longer going with them. The Aztecs would not be required to pay an exit fee to the Big East if they change their mind. The Mountain West has already had conversations with other schools joining.
Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said today the league has been in talks with 3-5 teams. San Diego State -- which originally planned to join the Big East in a package deal with Boise -- is one of them.
A league source says UTEP, SMU and Houston have recently shown interest in becoming members. BYU is the biggest prize available, but the Cougars seem committed to independence -- at least for now.
The fun part will be to see if the Mountain West stays at 11 or adds one or more schools. 12 teams would allow for a conference championship and an additional revenue opportunity. There could also a chance to again establish a presence in Texas. That would benefit recruiting and TV to have a foothold in two of the most populous states: California and Texas.
2013 is going to be a great year for the Mountain West.