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Boise State sues former Big East conference, contesting threat of $5 million penalty

The former Big East conference is threatening to sue Boise State University for $5 million, and BSU is now suing back, filing a lawsuit in district court in Boise “asking the court to declare that no such penalty is due.” In a news release, BSU President Bob Kustra said, “Boise State entered into that agreement in good faith and with a great degree of optimism, but the conference we agreed to join simply no longer exists.” Added Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle, “Boise State worked diligently to try to salvage the Big East Conference and help lead it into the future, but in the end the changes and losses proved too great to overcome.” Click below for the university's full release.


BOISE STATE NEWS RELEASE / April 15, 2013
Online at: http://news.boisestate.edu/recent-headlines

BOISE STATE COUNTERS LAWSUIT THREAT FROM FORMER BIG EAST

Representatives of what will soon be the American Athletic Conference have informed Boise State that the conference will sue the university for $5 million – allegedly for a purported cancellation penalty related to Boise State’s proposed entry to the Big East Conference.

In response, Boise State was left with no alternative but to file a lawsuit in Boise, asking the court to declare that no such penalty is due.

Published reports indicate that the entity that had been known as the Big East Conference will become the American Athletic Conference this summer, but it is a vastly different organization than the one Boise State agreed to join. In fact, the actual Big East will no longer sponsor college football.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed Dec. 6, 2011, between Boise State and the Big East included a number of conditions that needed to be met before Boise State would become a member of the conference, which was set to happen on July 1, 2013.

Well before that start date approached, the conference underwent severe changes, and many of those conditions were left unaddressed, including:

 

  • The Big East lost more than 78 percent of its membership between Dec. 6, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012.
  • The Big East failed to add football schools west of the Mississippi River.
  • The Big East lost its “automatic qualifier” status, while the other five BCS conferences continued their guaranteed access to the BCS bowl games.

 

“Boise State entered into that agreement in good faith and with a great degree of optimism, but the conference we agreed to join simply no longer exists,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra.

“Boise State worked diligently to try to salvage the Big East Conference and help lead it into the future, but in the end the changes and losses proved too great to overcome,” added Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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