Mountain West Adds Boise State, Joins Conference Expansion Fray
While Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott was standing in front of a Rocky Mountain vista in Boulder lauding the inclusion of Colorado into the Pac-10, Boise State was accepting an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference.
Boise State will move from the Western Athletic Conference to the MWC, effective July 2011, and will become the conference's 10th team.
Just a few days ago, the Mountain West's presidents decided they would hold off on expansion until the conference saw how things were going to shake out in the Big 12. But with that picture growing a little more clear -- Colorado to the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big Ten -- it was time to make a move.
The Mountain West may not be done adding members if the Big 12 can't hold it together. The MWC could well pick up orphaned Big 12 members Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor and Missouri.
This move makes sense for both Boise State and the MWC on a few levels. The Broncos are one of the premier non-BCS football programs in the nation with seven league championships in the last eight years and two wins in the Fiesta Bowl. The MWC will benefit from adding a football program of that caliber into its mix. Geographically, it's a much better fit for Boise State. No more trips to Hawaii and Ruston, Louisiana.
WAC president Karl Benson said he was disappointed by Boise State's decision to go. Benson said the WAC will look to replace Boise State.
"I am very optimistic that the WAC will continue to have success in the future and that this change in membership will allow us to build even a better WAC for the future," Benson said. "The WAC has been very good for Boise State and Boise State has been very good for the WAC. But it's not the first time a school has left the WAC and each time it has happened, a school or group of schools have stepped up and performed at a level that brings the WAC national credibility.
"We have a very strong foundation of schools going forward and others that are showing vast improvement. And as I have said many times – when schools join the WAC, they get better and I am sure that too will be the case regardless of the team or teams that will join the WAC in the coming months."