Well, ladies and gentlemen, Charlie Brown finally kicked the football. It went straight through the uprights and Boise State scored big time. We are now part of the Mountain West Conference.
Commissioner Craig Thompson extended the invite by phone this morning, after an early morning teleconference in which the Mountain West presidents voted to add Boise State. I accepted on behalf of the university and am pleased to acknowledge our new affiliation with the Mountain West.
Boise has emerged in recent years as one of the West’s most dynamic cities and Boise State has set its sights on standing alongside other metropolitan research universities in meeting the challenges of the new West. Our affiliation with universities in the Mountain West conference who share that mission and role is exciting for the university and exciting for our region. I have the utmost regard for each of the schools that make up this conference. It’s an honor to be in their company.
Our teams are ready for this new challenge, and certainly up to the task, as evidenced this year by another Fiesta Bowl win, our recent outstanding rankings in academic accomplishments of our student athletes – evidenced in our APR scores – and winning again this year the WAC Commissioner’s Cup given to the university that performs best in each of the conference’s 18 men’s and women’s championships.
It has always been one of my goals for Boise State to compete in a conference that not only stands for academic and athletic excellence, but also affords our student-athletes travel schedules that minimize disruption to their studies. I am delighted that we can now offer our student athletes, coaches and fans the very best competition with the most reasonable travel schedule.
I might add that as we made this decision today, we were mindful of the extremely fluid state of conference realignment, and the various scenarios that could play out for our new conference. But I have great confidence that Commissioner Thompson and the league presidents will take the steps necessary to keep the Mountain West strong and, indeed, advance its place in intercollegiate athletics. We are eager to play a key role in the future of the Mountain West Conference.
I would like to express our appreciation to the Western Athletic Conference, to my fellow presidents who have become good friends, and to Commissioner Karl Benson, for his advocacy and hard work on behalf of the league. Our membership in the WAC has been good for Boise State and we will always be grateful for the opportunities it afforded us.
Thanks to our faculty, staff, students, alumni and fans who have supported our efforts over the years and who now join us in celebrating our new affiliation.
I would also like to acknowledge the leadership of Gene Bleymaier for his role in positioning the athletic program for the Mountain West. Thanks to our incredibly talented coaching staff for providing such fine teams that are so attractive to a conference like the Mountain West.