Thursday, May 24, 2012.
We thought we had heard all the rumblings out of this week’s Big East meetings, but the Philadelphia Inquirer has more. Beat writer Keith Pompey, citing “multiple sources” at the meetings, says the conference hasn’t given up on adding Air Force or BYU in football to give Boise State and San Diego State some company out West. The Big East will have 13 football teams in 2015 when Navy joins (assuming, of course, everything stays status quo) and would seek a 14th member by that time to balance things out.
BYU, which turned down the Big East last November after lengthy discussions, continues to be an interesting concept. More Cougar fans than not are disgruntled with football independence, especially with the emptiness they feel in the month of November—watching meaningless matchups with nothing at stake. Maybe the prospect of increasing TV money and what now appear to be longer-shot prospects of Big 12 membership will have BYU revisiting the Big East idea.
Former WAC commissioner Karl Benson, now leading the Sun Belt, appeared on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday after declaring earlier in a press conference that his new league was not entertaining further expansion that would include Idaho and New Mexico State. The first impression was this: Idaho’s hand might be forced now after the Sun Belt closed the door. There would be two choices. The Vandals could go independent in football and remain FBS while placing their non-football sports in the Big Sky (which is still Division I). Or Idaho could go back to the Big Sky as an entire program. Then Benson floated out another scenario that may or may not be feasible.
He said there’s a number of FCS schools in the central and southern part of the country that have indicated an interest in moving up to the FCS. Examples, Benson said, would be Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Jacksonville State and Liberty. They can’t get a new FBS league sanctioned on their own. So perhaps they would seek the umbrella of the WAC, an existing FBS conference, to get it going. Let’s say there was a fifth school in addition to those Benson mentioned. Add them to Idaho and New Mexico State and you have a seven-team football league. Denver and Seattle would give the WAC nine basketball schools—and if not all the FCS newcomers came aboard as all-sports members, the WAC could always fall back on Cal State Bakersfield and Utah Valley. Messy, but worth a conversation.
Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Gene Bleymaier is expected to be named athletic director at San Jose State today. Wilner surmises that the former Boise State AD was the only candidate interviewed by the Spartans. It’s been 9½ months since Bleymaier was fired by BSU president Bob Kustra in the wake of NCAA charges of impermissible benefits to student-athletes. Bleymaier led the Bronco athletic department for almost 30 years.
The theft of 13 racing bicycles from the TIBCO-To The Top team early yesterday morning was certainly an unwanted sidebar to today’s kickoff of the inaugural Exergy Tour. But the outrage around the city and the quick response by the mayor’s office and the Boise police speak to the fact that this is unacceptable behavior in this community. Tips led to the recovery of all 13 of the bikes by early afternoon. At the end of the day, Team TIBCO’s bad taste for Boise had turned to an appreciation for the city’s outpouring of support.
Despite rigorous training, the competitors in the Exergy Tour will be rested and ready when the event begins tonight at Julia Davis Park with the prologue. One Boise host family learned firsthand that international cyclists have an extraordinary lifestyle. It’s very regimented—their coaches restrict their training to a precise daily amount of time on the bike, and they do not ride over that limit to allow their bodies to get worked out and then properly recover. And when the racers aren’t on their bikes, neither are they on their feet, the family said. They don’t stand up unless it’s necessary, preserving every bit of leg energy for racing. They’ll be blasting up and down Capitol Blvd. this evening.
As the College of Idaho baseball team settles in for the NAIA World Series beginning tomorrow in Lewiston, it’s appropriate to give kudos to one of the best players to come out of the Treasure Valley in recent memory. Caldwell High grad Isaac Garsez will begin the final approach to a stellar college career when the Coyotes open play tomorrow against Point Park of Pennsylvania. Garsez led the NAIA West this season in four different categories, posting a .396 batting average, 91 hits, 75 runs scored, and 12 triples (he led the entire NAIA in triples). Garsez was also second in stolen bases, third in home runs and fourth in doubles and runs batted in. He’s the two-time NAIA West Player of the Year and won region Player of the Week honors six times.
The Boise State men’s tennis season officially ended yesterday with Damian Hume’s loss in the first round of the NCAA Championships in Athens, GA. Hume won the first set over Kentucky's Alex Musialek 7-5 but was stifled thereafter, with Musialek taking the final two sets 6-1, 6-2. Elsewhere, the NCAA Track and Field West Preliminary Round opens today in Austin, TX, with nine of the 17 Boise State qualifiers set to compete on the first day. At stake are berths in the NCAA Championships in two weeks in Des Moines, IA.
After dropping Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Finals, the Florida Everblades looked like they may be headed toward the same fate they suffered the first time they made the Kelly Cup Finals. The Everblades fell to the Idaho Steelheads four games-to-one in 2004. But Florida stormed back to win the next four games against Las Vegas, including a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5 last night, and are Kelly Cup champions for the first time. It had been quite a run for Vegas, which dropped only two games over its first three playoff series in dispatching the Utah Grizzlies, the Steelies, and the defending Kelly Cup champion Alaska Aces.
This Day In Sports…May 24, 2002, 10 years ago today:
Boise’s first legit hockey star, Cal Ingraham, hangs up his skates after four seasons with the Idaho Steelheads. Ingraham’s final appearance was in Game 6 of the Taylor Cup Finals, a classic contest won 3-2 in double sudden death overtime by the Fresno Falcons. Cal ended his career as the Steelheads all-time leading scorer (175 goals) and the only player in WCHL history to score 50 goals in three straight seasons. He also owns the fastest hat trick in league history, scoring three times in 1:15 in a game against Colorado in 1999.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)