Thursday, May 10, 2012.
One recurring question as fans wonder if Boise State can still work things out with the Big West to house the Broncos’ non-football sports: could BSU afford to subsidize travel for all those California schools accustomed to mostly bus fares? If the Big East’s new TV contract cashes in the way some say it will, the answer is yes. A story from Ferd Lewis in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser says Hawaii is expected to pay $500,000 per year in travel subsidies to current members of the Big West when the Warriors’ non-football sports join the conference July 1. It’s less expensive to get to Boise from California than to Honolulu, so you’d have to think the Broncos’ number would be lower.
The Big West has told UH it will not have to pony up extra funds for any new members added after the Warriors joined if the conference were to expand further. That means San Diego State—and Boise State if the league were to still admit the Broncos. Bottom line, though, if cash-strapped Hawaii can afford the subsidies, BSU can, too. The Warriors, by the way, will also be paying about $750,000 a season in subsidies to Mountain West football programs beginning this year.
Maybe there are some hints now about the financial possibilities awaiting Boise State in the Big East. Most analysts see the conference’s new TV deal closer to the ACC’s contract than not, and the ACC has struck a reported 15-year, $3.6 billion pact with ESPN that will pay each league school over $17 million a year. If the Big East deal is even half of that, well, voila. The TV revenue for each ACC school will increase by 33 percent over the previous contract.
Let’s talk regular football now (breath of fresh air). It still involves money, though. George Iloka, Cincinnati’s fifth round draft pick last month, has agreed to terms with the Bengals. The former Boise State star will receive a four-year contract per the new NFL collective bargaining agreement. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports it to be a $2.1 million deal with a signing bonus of $160,300. Iloka graduated early from high school and missed the last half of his senior year to “greenshirt” and enroll early at Boise State in 2008. Safe to say it was worth it. Elsewhere, former Idaho offensive lineman Matt Cleveland has signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns, and former Vandal defensive tackle Michael Cosgrove has done the same with the Detroit Lions.
From the “where are they now” file: former Boise Burn offensive lineman Kyle DeVan, who left the now-defunct arena football team during its final season three years ago this spring to sign with the Indianapolis Colts, has settled into his next life as a coach. DeVan, who started for the Colts in the Super Bowl less than a year after playing in Downtown Boise, is a graduate assistant for his alma mater, Oregon State. DeVan, fresh off a stint as a substitute teacher and assistant wrestling coach in 2009, caught on with the Burn after being cut twice as an undrafted free agent by NFL teams. But, despite being called too small, he made it back and played on the biggest stage in sports.
Speaking of arena football, two former Boise State players are on the roster of the Utah Blaze, although only one is active. Kyle Brotzman, who needs no further introduction (unless you need to be reminded that he’s the top-scoring kicker in college football history), is 61-of-71 in extra points. That’s normal in arena ball with the narrow goal posts. In fact, Brotzman currently ranks ninth in the AFL in PAT percentage. Former Bronco offensive guard Will Lawrence was signed by the Blaze at the end of last November but has been on the injured reserve list all season. Utah plays tomorrow night on the road against the San Jose SaberCats.
For the sixth time in program history, the College of Idaho baseball team takes the field today in the NAIA National Championships. The Coyotes face Shorter University of Georgia in the opening round tournament in Azusa, CA. The winner of the five-team, double-elimination event advances to the NAIA World Series beginning Memorial Day weekend in Lewiston. The Yotes enter at 38-18, while this will be Shorter’s first and only trip to the NAIA Tournament. The Hawks are moving up to NCAA Division II next year.
It’s a week of firsts and lasts for the Boise State women’s softball team. The Broncos host Texas A&M in a three-game series beginning today. It’s the first time a team ranked this high has played in Boise—the Aggies are No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The games also mark the final home appearances for six of the “charter members” of the Bronco program from 2009. Seniors Kellie Caplan, Christina Capobianco, Allie Crump, Kelly Sweeney, Tazz Weatherly and Aubray Zell have all been part of the team since day one. And, it’s the last time around for Mountain Cove Field, as Boise State moves its home games to Dona Larsen Park next year.
Graham DeLaet’s timing is suddenly pretty good. The former Boise State star’s fourth-place finish two weeks ago at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans propelled him to 77th in the FedEx Cup points race this season, and it was that standing that got him into this week’s Players Championship. Eight players withdrew from the tournament, and DeLaet was added to the field that tees off today at the famed TPC Sawgrass course. The 30-year-old Canadian continues to play the PGA Tour on a medical exemption and needs a manageable $182,302 over his next 14 tournaments to keep his tour card. If DeLaet reaches the dollar threshold on the exemption to stay on the tour this year, his climb in the FedEx Cup standings will put him in good shape for 2013 as well.
With the Washington Capitals beating the New York Rangers last night to force a Game 7 in the NHL Eastern Conference semifinals, let’s take this opportunity to catch up on Jay Beagle, who’s the last former Idaho Steelhead left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tim Wharnsby wrote a nice feature on Beagle on the CBC’s “Hockey Night In Canada” homepage. Wharnsby lauded Beagle’s knack for stepping up his game in the postseason, citing his role in four championship runs in the past 10 years, including the Idaho Steelheads’ Kelly Cup title in 2007.
Wharnsby notes the turning point in Beagle’s career was when former Steelheads coach Derek Laxdal picked him up when he finished his college career at Alaska-Anchorage. “Capitals scout Steve Richmond took notice and invited Beagle to the NHL team's development camp,” writes Wharnsby. “From his play at the camp, the Capitals signed Beagle to an AHL contract.” Beagle has scored one goal and one assist in this year’s playoffs but is getting a lot of props as “a shutdown guy, a penalty killer, a shot blocker and dependable face-off man.” That Game 7 between Washington and the Rangers is set for Saturday night in Madison Square Garden.
This Day In Sports…May 10, 1970:
In one of those NHL snapshots that remains frozen in time, Boston’s 22-year-old Bobby Orr is caught sailing through the air just milliseconds after slamming a shot past St. Louis Blues goalie Glenn Hall. The acrobatic and dramatic goal in Game 4 gave the Bruins a 4-3 overtime win and their first Stanley Cup in 29 years. While the Boston Garden erupted, the Blues faced the infamy of being swept in their third straight Stanley Cup Finals.
(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.)