Boise State, American Athletic Conference settle lawsuit

Posted by Dave Southorn on July 3, 2014 

The Broncos agree to a reduced exit fee of $2.3 million, for a total of $4.1 million to leagues they never joined.

Boise State and the American Athletic Conference — the old Big East — are finally moving on.

The two sides announced Thursday a resolution through mediation that lawsuits filed against the other would be dropped after Boise State agreed to pay the $2.3 million exit fee.

In April 2013, Boise State sued the AAC for "damages" relating to the league not living up to obligations. The following month, the league filed a countersuit, saying Boise State owed $5 million in exit fees. The school never officially joined the Big East — it agreed in December 2011 to become a football-only member in 2013, but in December 2012, citing a lack of west-based teams and an unappealing television deal, opted to remain in the Mountain West.

On Thursday, Boise State said $1.6 million was paid to the AAC this week and the league will receive $140,000 per year for the next five years. The school has already paid a $1.79 million exit fee to the Big West, where most of its other sports would have headed in 2013.

The combined $4.1 million in exit fees will mostly be covered by $3 million from the Mountain West, with the other $1.1 million coming from Boise State's bonus money for playing football games on national television.

"We appreciate the willingness of the American Athletic Conference leaders to work with us to find an equitable solution for all involved," Boise State President Bob Kustra said in a statement.

The AAC also issued a statement: "Boise State University and the American Athletic Conference announced today that they have agreed through mediation to resolve the litigation between them. All claims between the parties will be dismissed."

The Big East existed as a football-playing conference until July 2013. Soon after Boise State's decision to return to the Mountain West, San Diego State did the same, and most longtime Big East members had announced their intent to depart for other leagues.

The Big East fell apart when its non-FBS schools took the name and started a basketball-only league last year. The AAC currently has 11 football-playing members, including Connecticut, which hosts Boise State on Sept. 13. East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa joined the league in all sports this week.

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