BOISE, Id. (CBSMiami) – The death rattle of the Big East Conference got a loud louder New Year’s Eve as ESPN.com is reporting that Boise State University will not join the conference and instead remain a member of the Mountain West Conference.
Boise State was the Big East’s big addition following multiple high-profile defections in the past few years. The Broncos were the signature football team in the Big East and now will be out of the conference before ever playing a conference game.
The move by Boise State to stay in the Mountain West Conference could lead to another school ditching the Big East as well. San Diego State had been planning to join the conference, but with Boise leaving, the Aztecs can leave the Big East without financial penalty.
If San Diego State left the Big East and stayed in the Mountain West Conference, the MWC would have 12 members: Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, and Wyoming.
With the loss of Boise State, the Big East currently has two divisions that are unbalanced. In the East division, Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati, UConn, South Florida, and UCF; in the West division: San Diego State, Houston, Memphis, SMU, and Temple.
The Big East is likely losing at least seven basketball members as well. The basketball-only schools are leaving the conference to form their own conference or join another conference to improve their basketball standing.
Compounding the problems for the Big East is their television rights deal is up after next year. The previous commissioner turned down a lucrative deal hoping more money would be available, but the exodus of quality football schools make a lucrative deal much less likely.
The Big East used to be a power conference and had a spot at the BCS table as an automatic qualifier. With the new playoff system, those days are long gone, and the Big East may be soon to follow.