MOSCOW, Idaho – Reverberations from the conference realignment shake-up reached the Western Athletic Conference on Friday, and they were most definitely felt at the University of Idaho.
“Well, it’s never good to lose any member,” UI athletic director Rob Spear said after Boise State accepted an invitation from the Mountain West Conference. “When you lose an institution like Boise State which has had recent (Bowl Championship Series) success, it’s not a good thing for our league.
“But one thing about the Western Athletic Conference, it’s been resilient,” Spear added. “They’ve been through this many times before and we will find teams possibly to join the WAC. And what’s happened when teams join the WAC is they become better.”
Boise State will become a member of the MWC in 2011, ending a brief alignment of the state’s biggest rivals in the same conference. The Vandals joined the WAC in 2005, and since then the Broncos’ on-the-rise football team has finished first in the league three times and won two BCS games.
Spear said he “absolutely” hopes UI will continue playing BSU in football and all other sports once the Broncos are in the MWC.
“I think it’s good for our state, it’s good for both institutions,” he said.
Karl Benson, the WAC’s commissioner, said in a press release that the league’s Board of Directors will start evaluating replacements for Boise State right away. Reports have mentioned Montana, a member of the Big Sky Conference, as a possible candidate.
“The WAC has been very good for Boise State and Boise State has been very good for the WAC,” Benson said in the statement. “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.”