Hours before their match against Washington State, the Boise State Broncos soccer team was part of an announcement from the university stating that the majority of non-football sports are switching back to the Big West Conference beginning next year.
The move was necessitated following the football team’s departure from the Mountain West to join the Big East in 2013. The costs to join the Big West are $2.5 million, which will be paid over the course of five years, though are probably outweighed by the television revenue generated by playing football in the Big East.
The Big West currently features a nearly entirely California contingent with Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, which is departing after this season for the West Coast Conference. The Big West’s lone school outside the state is, ironically, Hawaii, which is a football-only member of the Mountain West.
The Broncos are following fellow MWC member and future Big East football member San Diego State, which previously announced its move to the Big West beginning in 2013.
The Mountain West currently features schools more geographically suited for Boise State with Air Force, Colorado State, Nevada, New Mexico, UNLV and Wyoming along with the California schools Fresno and San Diego State.
The move comes after just two seasons with the Mountain West. Boise State spent the previous 10 years with the Western Athletic Conference after playing in the Big West from 1996 to 2001. It was a member of the Big Sky Conference since its move up from the NAIA in 1969 until its move to the Big West in 1996.