BOISE-- On Monday, Boise State University announced that it had filed a lawsuit in Ada County against the Big East Conference, asking the court to declare that no exit penalty is due after the university announced its departure from the Big East. The lawsuit was filed after the conference informed Boise State that it intended to sue the school for $5 million.
The lawsuit filed by Boise State alleges that the Big East breached the contract that the two parties agreed to. Among the details brought up were the fact that the Big East lost 11 of its 14 member institutions, that the conference failed to add other football playing schools west of the Mississippi River, and that it failed to maintain its “automatic qualifier” status with the Bowl Championship Series system.
“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.
Should the court side with Boise State, the university may not have to pay an exit fee, or could be penalized a smaller exit fee.
Former Idaho attorney general David Leroy has followed the case, and upon reviewing the details of the lawsuit, opined that the university may have a good argument.
“Boise State is asking the judge to find that the contract was breached, and asking the judge to declare the rights of the parties,” Leroy said. “Certainly, when anything has changed as radically as the Big East has, and where it can no longer deliver what it promised, either in writing or in the implied covenants that are associated with the contract, Boise State has got a lot to talk about to the judge.”
Leroy says he expects the Big East to respond to the lawsuit in the next few weeks. The case could take as long as a year to be decided, if it stays in Ada County or Idaho. Should the case be moved to Federal Court, it could take longer to be decided.
“If the case is moved to the district court in Idaho, the timeline would be approximately the same,” Leroy said. “If the case is moved to a district court in some urban area back East, the timeline could be greatly extended. This could be a couple of football seasons' worth of legal entertainment.”