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Boise State seeks voiding of penalty

Boise State filed a lawsuit before the Big East could, and now the debate over what conference the Broncos were actually getting into is at the center of a potential $5 million exit fee.

The school announced Monday it filed a lawsuit in the 4th District Court in Boise, Idaho, after a representative from the conference it had planned to join said its plan was to sue.

At the center of Boise State's claims:

  • The conference lost three-fourths of its membership from the time the Broncos signed on in December 2011.

  • The conference failed to add more football schools West of the Mississippi.

  • The conference lost its BCS-bowl guarantee following this coming season.

The Big East could counter some of those notions by pointing to the addition (and later defection) of San Diego State, along with the fact that the "AQ" designation is going away come the 2014 college football playoff.

"Boise State entered into that agreement in good faith and with a great degree of optimism, but the conference we agreed to join simply no longer exists," Boise State president Bob Kustra said.

The Broncos had announced this past December that they would stay in the Mountain West Conference.

San Diego State made the same decision in January.

"We are disappointed that Boise State has gone to court to try to avoid the contractual obligation that it made to the conference to pay $5 million for refusing to join after committing to do so," Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement.

The Big East has been involved in lawsuits with former league members West Virginia, Pitt, Rutgers and TCU, with the Horned Frogs' case providing the most similar parallel after the program reneged on its decision to join the Big East and instead went to the Big 12.

The Big East eventually dropped its suit against TCU, which agreed to pay a reported $5 million.