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Boise State receives clearance to join Big East

Associated Press / November 4, 2011

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The Idaho State Board of Education gave Boise State permission to pursue membership with the Big East Conference, a move that would mean more revenue and give the Broncos a clear path to the Bowl Championship Series.

The board voted, 7-1, yesterday to give university President Bob Kustra the authority to move Boise State’s football program out of the Mountain West Conference and into the Big East for the 2013 season.

Kustra has had ongoing discussions with Big East representatives, including during a campus visit by conference leaders last week. Boise State has not yet received a formal invitation to join, but Kustra told trustees he expects one to come in the next few days.

This week, Big East presidents met in Philadelphia and signed off on a plan to add more teams to a conference hit by the defections of prominent schools like Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia. To offset those losses, the league is looking to add Boise State, Navy, and Air Force for football only, and SMU, Houston and Central Florida for all sports.

But Boise State’s entry into the Big East carries a critical caveat.

Kustra told the state board - and board members agreed - that the formation of a Western division is essential to joining the conference. Kustra suggested that SMU, Houston, Air Force, and one other western school could make up that division. He declined to identify any other western schools that are now in talks with Big East officials.

“The Big East is working on partners for a western division, with a championship game’’ with the winner of the eastern division, Kustra said.

Kustra estimates the annual payout to Big East football members at $3.7 million, compared to the $1.9 million projected as the top payout in the Mountain West.

Tulane checks Jagodzinski

According to the Times-Picayune, Tulane interviewed former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski about its coaching vacancy last week. Jagodzinski went 20-8 at BC from 2007-08 before he was fired for pursuing other job options.

In 2009, Jagodzinski was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator. Last year he was head coach of the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League but did not have his contract renewed.

Bob Toledo resigned as Tulane’s coach two weeks ago after a 2-5 start. Mark Hutson (offensive line coach) has been the interim coach.

Coaches talk trash

North Carolina State coach Tom O’Brien and North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers have added a little spice to tomorrow’s rivalry game. Withers went on a radio show this week and said UNC is the state’s “flagship’’ university and pointed out the Tar Heels’ graduation rates are higher than the Wolfpack’s. Those comments irked O’Brien, who defended his program’s academic work and took jabs at UNC’s recent NCAA trouble with improper benefits and academic misconduct - which includes a hearing with the NCAA infractions committee. “If you take three things you can’t do in college football, you have an agent on your staff, you’re paying your players, and you have academic fraud,’’ O’Brien retorted. “I mean, that’s a triple play as far as the NCAA goes.’’ Withers said he hadn’t spoken with O’Brien and didn’t plan to address their tiff when the coaches chat before kickoff.