Mountain West denies Boise State would get favored status

Otto Kitsinger III

The Broncos are negotiating for the right to broadcast their own football games, a concession they are unlikely to receive from the MWC.

Mountain West Conference officials are denying that Boise State will receive any additional television concessions should it cancel its scheduled move to the Big East and remain a member of the conference, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. The report comes as negotiations between Boise State, the Big East and the MWC regarding the Broncos' future conference affiliation intensify.

Boise State moved from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference in 2011, but quickly accepted an offer to become a football-only member of the Big East effective in 2013. At the time, the Big East held an automatic berth into the Bowl Championship Series and was negotiating a new television agreement, all of which made it attractive to the perennially successful Broncos football program.

Since then, the Big East has been raided by the ACC, Big Ten, and Big XII, losing five football programs in the process. Meanwhile, the Mountain West has restructured its television agreement with CBS, increasing payout to member institutions, and the pending playoff system has made the Big East's BCS Automatic Qualifier status largely irrelevant. Unsurprisingly, reports began to surface this summer that Boise State was reconsidering its planned move to the Big East. Those talks intensified this week, after seven basketball-only members of the Big East withdrew from the conference, further marginalizing the conference and reducing the value of a potential television contract.

At issue in the current negotiations is whether Boise State will retain the television rights to its home games, a concession that could be worth millions of dollars to the school. BSU would be the only school in the country to be a member of an athletic conference, yet hold the rights to broadcast its own games. Neither conference has indicated it will budge, and as a source told ESPN's Brett McMurphy, it's not expected that either the Big East or Mountain West will back down:

"Boise reminds me of the teenage recruit who is starting to believe he's the biggest star in town," a source said. "It might be a pretty big letdown when all is said and done. Actually the sentiment of 'who do they think they are' is starting to seep into conversations with folks across college football.

"Let's remember this isn't Alabama, or even Texas Tech, we're talking about. This sorry episode is starting to make it seem like Boise is one of the power assets in college football. In reality their value is relative to the conference they belong to."

Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, Boise State is widely expected to cancel its 2013 move to the Big East and remain a member of the Mountain West. The Broncos could also become independent, which would give them the right to sell their own television coverage but could leave them out in the cold in all other sports.

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