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Boise State sues Mountain West over conference’s new TV contract

Boise State University has filed a legal complaint against the Mountain West Conference, alleging bad faith and breach of contract in the conference’s new six-year, $270m television contract with CBS and Fox.

At the announcement, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said the contract would be the final time it honored a prior agreement with Boise State which paid the school $1.8m more than other colleges in the athletic conference.

In a lawsuit, filed in state district court in Idaho, Boise State said the conference approved the new TV deal without its consent and is reneging on two promises made when the college agreed to stay in 2012 and not move to the Big East, and later in an amended re-entry agreement. These are: that Boise State’s home football games would be negotiated separately and Boise State would receive a bonus on top of their equal share of TV revenue.

Last week, Boise State, which is arguing the clauses are perpetual, issued a statement which read: “Boise State’s decision to join the conference was predicated on a number of negotiated provisions, including the right to separately negotiate material terms of media rights relating to our home games. This is stated in our conference agreement and cannot be changed by any vote of the membership or conflicting agreement. We will not support any change to this provision and are in the process of weighing our options to move forward.”

The two sides appear to be working towards a resolution. “The university and the Mountain West are currently in discussions in hopes of bringing this matter to a resolution without litigation,” Boise State and Mountain West said in a joint statement.

If the matter cannot be resolved, however, Boise State could choose to leave the conference altogether. The TV deal with CBS and Fox runs through 2026.