It was nearly 27 months ago that Boise State, with much fanfare and a pep rally atmosphere, gleefully accepted an invitation to the Mountain West Conference.
Friday, with considerably less pomp, the Broncos announced what they hope is their last conference affiliation change for a while, accepting an invite to the Big West for most non-football sports. The Broncos will join the league on July 1, 2013.
In contrast to the gang of coaches, administrators and supporters who attended the Mountain West announcement, only President Bob Kustra and Athletic Director Mark Coyle were present at the hastily called and short press conference detailing the Broncos latest conference move.
Since the Mountain West announcement on June 11, 2010, the Broncos have accepted an invitation to the Big East in football, an invitation to the WAC in most other sports and, now, accepted a spot in the Big West in those same non-football sports.
Conference realignment fatigue is setting in.
I certainly hope its a long-term solution. We, really like everyone else in America, hope this will quiet down for a while. ... We want this to be a long-term decision, Kustra said.
By joining the California-based Big West Boise States athletic home from 1996 to 2001 the Broncos are seeking stability for their non-football sports that was not to be found in the vanishing WAC. That stability allows Boise State to fully commit to Big East football.
The Broncos tried to get into the league last year without success, forcing them to the WAC.
Kustra said it was a matter of the two sides getting more comfortable with each other, though money from Boise State and the Big East certainly didnt hurt.
Mondays vote was unanimous, Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell said.
We were able to allow all of our members the opportunity to do their due diligence with how Boise State would help us move forward as a conference, Farrell said. It was a matter of getting everybody comfortable with expanding beyond our footprint and recognizing how that would impact our national brand in a positive way.
The Big West added Hawaii about 18 months ago and invited San Diego State in December. Hawaii, like Boise State, will pay travel subsidies to the league.
The Broncos can afford the payments because they expect the Big East to sign a lucrative television contract, one that could net Boise State between $8 million and $14 million per season according to reports.
San Diego State, which like Boise State is leaving the Mountain West for the Big East in football, worked hard on behalf of the Broncos, Kustra and Coyle said.
I feel like I talk to (San Diego State AD) Jim Sterk more than I talk to my wife, said Coyle, who began work at Boise State in January and has spent much of that time working on this issue. Its a strong, healthy partnership.
And now possibly the schools most important athletic relationship. The Big West can terminate Boise States membership in the league with 24-months notice if San Diego State leaves.
The biggest impact of the move will be on the Broncos mens basketball team, which is moving from the powerful Mountain West (No. 5 in conference RPI) to the less imposing Big West (No. 26).
The additions of San Diego State, Hawaii and Boise State, Farrell said, should move Big West closer to becoming a multiple-bid league in the NCAA mens basketball tournament. Since 1992, the league has had two bids just twice. It has not had two bids since 2005, the final year Utah State was in the league.
This will be a terrific move for Boise State basketball, Broncos coach Leon Rice said in a statement.
The Big West will begin re-negotiations with ESPN for its national television rights in September, Farrell said. The league is also negotiating a more lucrative deal for its regional rights, he said, aided by competition for programming between Fox and Time Warner in California.
The Big West did not make revenue payments to its members in the past two years, Farrell said, but anticipates with a new television contract being able to distribute some money. Boise State will participate fully and immediately in any conference distribution.
The Big West does not sponsor gymnastics, wrestling, indoor track and field or womens swimming and diving. Boise States gymnastics team will remain in the WAC and wrestling will stay in the Pac-12.
Farrell said the Big West will consider adding womens swimming and diving with the recent additions, including Boise States three-time defending conference champion program.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444,Twitter: @MurphsTurph