BOISE -- A proud president stood at the podium at theAllen Noble Hall of Fame Friday, and kicked off a big acceptance speech with a memorable reference.
Charlie Brown finally kicked the football. It went straight through the uprights and Boise State scored big time. We are now a member of the Mountain West Conference, said Boise State President Dr. Bob Kustra.
Kustra says he received the phone call at 7:40 Friday morning. It's a phone call that will change Bronco Nation as we know it.
Kustra said during a news conference that the vote was a unanimous one by the presidents of the Mountain West Conference.
This move is in the best interests of Boise State's future, and the university is excited to be part of one of the nation's most outstanding conferences. said Kustra in a written statement.
Boise State Director of Athletics Gene Bleymaier believes this invitation to the Mountain West Conference shows a belief not only in Boise State, but in the community as well.
Our history has been one of growth and change throughout the years, and we have evolved as a university, as a community and as an athletic department, Bleymaier proudly said Friday afternoon. And again, here is another step forward in that evolution. A great thanks to Bronco Nation, to the Bronco Athletic Association, to our season ticket holders, the community and all of our supporters, without whom none of this would have happened.
The Broncos will not join the Mountain West Conference until July 1, 2011. That gives them one more year in the WAC, and one more year to prepare for the switch.
We could not be happier, we are looking forward to 2011 when it gets here, in a big way, said Bleymaier. But we do have work to do prior to that and we've got another year in the WAC and it's been a great affiliation with the WAC.
From the WAC to the MWC:
- MountainWest Conference was founded in 1998 with eight members.
- BSU will become MWC's 10th member.
- It was Monday when MWCCommissioner Craig Thompson announced it will not yet extend invitation to BSU.
- BSU's membership will become effective July 1, 2011.
- Read Dr. Kustra's entire acceptance speech here.
So what does this conference shuffle mean for the big rivalry between the Idaho Vandals and the Broncos?
Idaho Vandal Coach Robb Akey says even though the two teams won't be in the same conference, it shouldn't change that rivalry.
I think it is very important is that two of us will be in different conferences but we need to keep that rivalry game going. I think it's good for our state, said Akey.
University of Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spears is disappointed the WAC is losing a member, but at the same time, he understands why the Broncos made the decision they did.
It's the craziest time in college athletics and it's all about money so don't kid yourself. It's all about where schools can position themselves and maximize their resources. When you have the economic times that we have, I can't blame anyone for looking to better themselves, said Spears.
When it comes to whether the jump to the Mountain West Conference will give Boise State a better chance at a BCS bowl game, Kustrasaidthe Broncos and their fans will just have to wait and see.
I must say I am not an expert on tallying the wins and losses and figuring out what it is that's going to take the Mountain West over the line into an automatic qualifying conference, saidKustra. And I think there are some other uncertain aspects of this business right now which suggests that we need to sit back and wait to know whether that will ever happen.
Overall,Kustra is excited about the invitation and what playing in the Mountain West Conference will mean for the future of Boise State University.
If you look at the academic caliber of the universities of the Mountain West, I think our student athletes will know they are competing alongside some fine student athletes from the Air Force Academy across the University of Utah to BYU, said Kustra. That not only works for the athletic program, and it not only works for the student athletes, it works for the overall image and reputation of the university as well.