Boise State five years later: stable

It was five years ago today that Boise State appeared before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis. It was five years ago today that Boise State appeared before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis, answering to a series of violations in football, track and field, and men’s tennis, and a major infraction in women’s tennis. The football transgressions centered on incoming players sleeping on teammates’ couches for free after arriving early for summer conditioning. The women’s tennis violation, the use of an ineligible player, was the straw that broke the camel’s back, spurring the NCAA to charge Boise State with a lack of institutional control. BSU presented its case against the lack of institutional control tag and presented its solutions to the list of violations during a session that lasted 13 hours.

The university was hit with a number of sanctions that September, some of them self-imposed and some of them handed down by the NCAA. The women’s tennis program had its scholarships reduced by almost 40 percent for the next two years, and football’s scholarships were reduced from 85 to 82 during the 2012-14 seasons for the “impermissible lodging.” The state of the program now? Boise State reworked its compliance and reporting systems, and today it’s stable under current AD Curt Apsey. The women’s tennis program in particular has made a 180-degree turn under coach Beck Roghaar.

The Reno Gazette-Journal rated Mountain West athletic departments last weekend, and it had BSU at No. 4. Writes Chris Murray (who ranked Nevada No. 8): “Boise State was one of two MW schools this year that failed to win a MW title, along with Wyoming, a surprise given its long history of successful athletics (the Broncos did win the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championship). Boise State won four titles the previous year, so this is likely a blip. Boise State football is the best non-Power 5 program in the nation, although it has failed to hit double-digit wins in two of the last three seasons (it also won the Fiesta Bowl in that stretch). Its two basketball programs are good, and the Broncos’ cross country program is elite.”

The NCAA has released official men’s basketball attendance figures for the 2015-16 season. The nation’s overall average was down—but by just 10 fans per game to 4,744. Boise State was up by about 500 per game to an average of 6,270, 86th among the 346 Division I schools in the country. New Mexico led the Mountain West and was 23rd in the nation at 13,030 per game, marking the 50th consecutive season the Lobos have been in the top 25 in attendance. UNM was, however, down more than 1,500 per game from the previous season. As a conference, the Mountain West was seventh in Division I with an average of 7,167.

The College of Idaho has unveiled a 31-game men’s basketball schedule for 2016-17, highlighted by an exhibition game at Arizona. The Coyotes and Wildcats will meet in Tucson on November 1, the third time a C of I team has met a Pac-12 school in an exhibition. The annual United Heritage Mayors’ Cup series against Northwest Nazarene will be played November 22 in Caldwell and December 6 in Nampa. The Yotes’ season opens October 29-30 at the Quinn Classic in LaGrande.

The Colorado Rockies made Riley Pint of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School near Kansas City the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft last night. As has been pointed out, the Rockies haven’t sent their top selection in the draft to the Northwest League since 2008, so don’t expect to see him in a Boise Hawks uniform this summer. But it would be nice. Pint is a right-handed pitcher with a 100 mile-per-hour fastball.

It was one of those days for Troy Merritt in the opening round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The former Boise State star was two-under going into the 13th hole, but he bogeyed four of his last six holes yesterday and is in danger of saying goodbye early in Memphis. Conversely, Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge got his bogeys—two of them—out of the way on the front nine. Aldridge birdied two of his final three holes to finish even at 70.

Brenna Peloquin’s first trip to nationals resulted in first-team All-America honors last night. Peloquin, the Boise State freshman from Gig Harbor, WA, finished eighth in the women’s 10,000-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene. It was only the second 10k of Peloquin’s collegiate career. She’ll run in the 5,000-meters final tomorrow. And Minttu Hukka, the Broncos’ Finnish freshman, placed 20th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase semifinal last night at Hayward Field. Hukka did not advance to the final.

The company that owns the University of Minnesota’s football equipment moving van was summoned to help relocate former Boise State athletic director Mark Coyle, who left the same post at Syracuse after less than a year to become the Golden Gophers’ AD. It seems the company inadvertently sent the actual football semi to Syracuse, causing quite a stir in upstate New York. “Mark Coyle and members of the Minnesota athletic department were not aware that this truck was being used,” said Minnesota’s communications director, Paul Rovnak.

The tweet came late yesterday afternoon from quarterback Jake Luton. “At this time I would like to announce I will be leaving the University of Idaho…I wish Vandal nation nothing but the best in this upcoming season and in the future.” That leaves Idaho a little thin behind starting QB Matt Linehan. Luton had taken the No. 1 reps during spring football while Linehan rehabbed an injury. Redshirt freshman Gunnar Amos, the former Coeur d’Alene Viking, is now the presumed backup. Luton completed 64 percent of his throws last season for 403 yards and one touchdown against four interceptions. He also rushed for five TDs.

This Day In Sports…June 10, 1978:

In the Belmont Stakes, Affirmed and Alydar are neck-and-neck again. Affirmed had defeated his worthy rival by 1½ lengths in the Kentucky Derby, but only by a neck at the Preakness. In the Belmont, the two were dead even with 1/16 of a mile to go, when jockey Steve Cauthen asked Affirmed for more—and he moved ahead to win by a nose, making him horse racing’s 11th Triple Crown winner. There would not be another until American Pharoah accomplished the feat last year.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)