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A $29.4 million ticket out of the WAC



The Boise State athletic department budget has ballooned to over 29 million dollars. No wonder they had to charge admission to the spring game.

The school will present a budget with $29.4 million in projected revenue to the State Board of Education at its meeting in Idaho Falls on Thursday and Friday.
According to the Statesman story, the athletic department budget has grown by more than 20 million dollars the past 10 years. Where is the money going? Perhaps we should ask Gene Bleymaier's tailored suit.

The most disturbing part of the whole story is not the excess of the Boise State athletic budget (in fact, we could not be happier that the school is willing to spend whatever it takes to remain competitve to the point of dominant). The most disturbing part is where the bottom of the WAC stands.

The University of Idaho is presenting its budget to the state board at the same time as the Broncos do. Let's hope the Vandals get to go first. Their 16 million dollar proposal is peanuts compared to BSU's.

And therein lies the problem with the WAC--there is a distinct, tangible line between the haves and the have nots. The schism is not simply on the field of play; it goes back to a fundamental difference in the approach of athletic departments. The big players (BSU, Fresno State) are willing to put themselves out there and risk a deficit because they understand that the reward of success in college sports can be incredibly lucrative. The Fiesta Bowl is Exhibit A for this strategy. Meanwhile, the also-rans in the conference are simply doing enough to get by and maybe, possibly, not be in the red come season's end.

At any rate, seeing Boise State's largesse is simply another encouraging sign that maybe one day the Broncos can rid themselves of the WAC and move on to a conference like the Pac-10 where their commitment to winning will not be so drastically anomalous. One can hope.

Boise State's budget climb [Idaho Statesman]