BOISE, Idaho >> Boise State lawyers say the school engaged in talks with the Mountain West Conference earlier this year about staying in the league, despite public denials by Bronco athletic officials that such talks were taking place.
The Idaho Statesman confirmed the negotiations in a story published Monday and based on the university’s response to a public records request.
The university denied the newspaper’s request for documents, citing attorney-client privilege. But Boise State’s general counsel confirmed in its response to the records request that conversations about keeping the Broncos in the Mountain West had occurred with league leaders.
In May, athletic director Mark Coyle denied to media during Big East Conference meetings that the school was engaged in conversations about staying in the Mountain West. Boise State is scheduled to move its football program to the Big East next year, but is still seeking a home for its other sports programs.
Coyle’s denial provoked Mountain West officials to then issue a statement to media outlining some of the details of a plan to keep Boise State. At the time, Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham said the league offered to share revenues based on on-field success, a plan that could have helped the Broncos’ powerful football program, but Boise State declined.
No Boise State official attended the Mountain West meetings earlier this month outside San Diego.
The Broncos are scheduled to move their other sports programs to the WAC in July 2013, but have also applied for membership in the Big West as uncertainty looms over the future and competitiveness of the WAC.
The Broncos completed the Big West’s 11-page "New Member Assessment Tool" and have sent it to the league. The assessment tool is a collection of data — including general campus information, sports sponsorship assessment, academic assessment, athletic competitiveness assessment, NCAA championship participation, athletic department funding and marketing assessment — and includes no statements as to why the Broncos want to join the league or why the league should accept Boise State.
In its response to the Statesman, Boise State said it has not submitted membership applications to any other Division I conference.