They spend money in Vegas—if they can find it

Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

When Boise State built the Steuckle Sky Center onto what is now Albertsons Stadium in 2008, it was a $36 million project. That was a big-money deal in Idaho s capital city. In Las Vegas, they re talking about a new on-campus football stadium at UNLV that could cost 20 times that of the Bronco addition. The proposed 50,000-seat stadium would cost upwards of $700 million if it has a retractable roof, and that doesn t include well more than $100 million for things like parking garages and road access. A column by Adam Snel in the Las Vegas Review-Journal says supporters have reached that delicate twist in the road when they start figuring out how to fund it.

Read on, though, and you find this: Not only do stadium board members need to figure out how to pay for the stadium, they also are faced with finding a suitable location after UNLV officials this month dropped the proposed site on the campus west side. Snel writes that officials are now looking at two other sites. There might be a little cart-before-the-horse at work here. Boosters of the project are bracing for Thursday, when Plano, Texas-based Conventions, Sports & Leisure International offers a variety of stadium funding options. I m not counting on Boise State ever playing in such a place in Las Vegas regular season or postseason.

There s still a chance Joey Martarano could play for the Boise Hawks this summer, as the Statesman s Brian Murphy reports the former Fruitland High multi-sport star has decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs today pending a physical. Martarano, the redshirt freshman Boise State linebacker, has flown to the Cubs minor league facility in Mesa to get ready. An assignment to the Hawks would depend on how long it takes him to make the adjustment back to baseball, a sport he hasn t played since Fruitland lost to Snake River in the Idaho 3A title game in May of last year. The Cubs drafted Martarano in the 22nd round 10 days ago.

Aaron Burks isn't going to make it to training camp this summer with Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent last month, waived the former Boise State wide receiver yesterday. Burks just can't seem to get over the hump. After joining the Broncos as a greenshirt in January of 2009 following an early graduation from high school in Grand Prairie, TX, Burks always looked to be on the verge of a breakout. But his 18 receptions last year as a senior were his career high.

Well, the Boise Hawks weren t going to go 76-0 this season. They re now 3-1 after losing their first game of the year last night, 4-3 to Tri-City in 10 innings. Errors and problems with runners on base did the Hawks. The Dust Devils plated the winning run in the 10th with the help of two Boise miscues, and the Hawks left 13 runners on base for the game. Kyle Schwarber update: the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft is still batting over .500; he s 9-for-16 on the season after going 2-for-5 with a triple last night.

The Hawks have three getaway matinees this season. Afternoon games are a rarity for the club, but they play one today at 12:15 to wrap up the Tri-City series before heading out on their first road trip of the season. The Hawks have a 10 a.m. game a week from Saturday against the Hillsboro Hops (10 a.m.?), and they face Vancouver at 12:15 again on Sunday, August 3. All three afternoon dates (more like morning in the case of the Hillsboro bash) are on getaway days.

Leon Rice s windfall from his flirtations with the Washington State basketball program this spring is on the docket today at the State Board of Education meeting this week in Idaho Falls. Rice decided to stay at Boise State and was rewarded with a proposed salary increase of almost $115,000 to $596,573 for next season. The contract is to run through 2019 and is extended by a year each time the Broncos win 18 games and make the NCAA Tournament. Now the board has to approve the deal. Rice is 77-54 at BSU and has recorded 20-win seasons in three of his four years with the Broncos.

The Mountain West can sing the praises of Kawhi Leonard after he was named MVP of the NBA Finals Sunday night. Leonard averaged 23.7 points over the last three games of the Finals for the Spurs and was on the Heat s LeBron James defensively like glue. Leonard was a first-round pick out of San Diego State in 2011 after leading SDSU to a 34-3 record and a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. That was the season before Boise State joined the Mountain West.

Any joy over Leonard s accomplishment on the Aztecs campus is muted by the death of SDSU baseball coach Tony Gwynn, the Hall of Famer who died of cancer yesterday at the age of 54. The most beloved San Diego Padre ever had been leading the Aztecs program since 2003 before having to step down this March due to his health problems. Gwyinn spent all 20 years of his big league career with the Padres, finishing in 2001 with 3,141 hits and a .338 batting average.

This Day In Sports...June 17, 2004, 10 years ago today:

In back-to-back days, two local bombshells are dropped during an otherwise slow sports week. Boise State announced a 15-year deal to rename the BSU Pavilion as Taco Bell Arena. That came a day after Albertson College athletic director Marty Holly first broke word of the Coyotes exploring a return to football, a sport the school had dropped in 1977. It would take almost eight years, but Holly s efforts came to fruition when the school, now once again called the College of Idaho, announced the reinstatement of football in 2012, effective with the 2014 season.

(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.)


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