Mountain West presidents are resolute they won't be taken advantage of by Boise State, multiple conference sources told CBSSports.com on Saturday.
While Boise continues to play itself off between both the Mountain West and Big East, the MWC believes it has an advantage because at least it has a television deal. CBSSports.com reported Friday that CBS had restructured its deal with the Mountain West through 2015-16. That deal is solid with or without Boise which is seeking to retain the rights to its home games as previously reported by CBSSports.com.
The current MWC deal is worth $8 million-$12 million per year. That will go up with the restructured deal which will allow the Mountain West to license packages of games to other rightsholders. Obviously, the deal would be more valuable with Boise in the Mountain West.
However, some believe that Boise is attempting to leverage its value beyond its worth. In that sense, think of Boise being the best name left on the draft board in conference realignment among the Group of Five (MAC, Sun Belt, Conference USA, Mountain West, Big East). CBS holds a four-year option on the Mountain West deal through 2019-20. That option would be easier to exercise if Boise was in the fold.
“Anything is on the table,” in the Boise negotiations one source said.
“I'd rather be me,” said a Mountain West source, “than Mike [Aresco].”
That would be Mike Aresco, the Big East commissioner. According to sources on both sides, the Boise/Big East/Mountain West issue has been tabled for the next 48- to 72 hours while all sides enjoy Christmas. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson is headed to Honolulu for the Hawaii Bowl where Mountain West member Fresno State will meet SMU on Monday.
That could be a flash point in the process. CBSSports.com reported that the Big East had reached out to both UNLV and Fresno State. Meanwhile, SMU has been speculated as a Mountain West candidate should the conference expand further.
“If you have 10 teams stay together,” MWC commissioner Craig Thompson said of the current roster of members, “we have no worries.”
"It's great [restructuring] for our league going forward, but obviously gives us some advantages as we continue these membership discussions," MWC deputy commissioner Bret Gilliland told the Idaho Statesman. "The benefit of that is that gives us some flexibility to sub-license games to other national carriers and do some things creatively, which can help position us in this whole membership carousel."
"We are having conversations with any number of institutions, including Boise State, about how we strengthen and how we further stabilize and further strengthen our league.”
"We're going to do what's best for us and I know that. That's why I have no worries about it. So if the Big East is best, great. If not, then we stay put," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "... "The president, he's going to do what's right for Boise State and he's not going to mess around."
Calls to CBS media relations for comment on the impact of the Mountain West deal were not returned.