COLORADO Springs, Colo. (Sports Network) - The Mountain West Conference announced Friday that Boise State has accepted an invitation to join the conference beginning July 1, 2011.
Boise State moves on from the Western Athletic Conference and becomes the 10th
member of the MWC. It's the first addition to the league since TCU joined in
"We are pleased and excited to welcome Boise State University to the Mountain
West Conference," said commissioner Craig Thompson. "Since our inception just
11 short years ago, the Mountain West has experienced tremendous success, and
the addition of Boise State will further enhance that strength. The MWC
continues to strategize regarding potential membership scenarios and bringing
Boise State into the conference is an important part of that evolution."
On Monday, the Mountain West announced it had decided to put expansion plans
on hold, citing uncertainty in the shifting landscape of college sports with
changes already in the works for some of the elite conferences such as the Big
Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10.
Boise State joins current MWC members Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New
Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Utah and Wyoming.
"It will be a privilege to compete and partner with such a successful group of
member institutions. This move is in the best interests of Boise State's
future, and the university is excited to be part of one of the nation's most
outstanding conferences," said Boise State president Bob Kustra.
It's the second conference shift in as many days following Colorado's move
from the Big 12 to the Pac-10. Another Big 12 member, Nebraska, has decided to
apply for membership in the Big Ten.
The spotlight on Friday's marriage of Boise State and the Mountain West will
surely shine brightest on the gridiron with the two longtime thorns in the
Bowl Championship Series' collective side. The Broncos have put together two
undefeated seasons in the last four years under head coach Chris Petersen,
garnering the label of "BCS Buster."
However, the WAC, like the MWC, does not hold an automatic bid under the
current BCS system, making it nearly impossible to gain a shot at playing for
a national championship. That's something the Mountain West has gone as far as
the courts to try and change, albeit unsuccessfully, after similar on-field
successes by Utah and TCU over the last few years.
There are 11 Division I conferences within football and under the current BCS
format, only six of those -- the ACC, SEC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, and
Pac-10 -- receive automatic bids to the lucrative BCS bowls.
Other potential conference realignments on the horizon, including a palpable
complete dissolution of the Big 12, would bring about a shakeup in the system,
and proponents of change will certainly point to the new-look Mountain West as
a candidate for inclusion.
The Big 12 had given a deadline of Friday for both Nebraska and Missouri to
make decisions on whether to remain in the conference. Meanwhile, the Pac-10
is rumored to be crafting a mega-expansion to 16 teams with invitations to a
handful of Big 12 schools, including marquee members Texas and Oklahoma.