The bigger they are, the harder they might fall?

USA Today’s annual analysis of college athletics finances was released Monday, and it’s an eye-opener. USA Today’s annual analysis of college athletics finances was released Monday, and it’s headlined with the question, “Can college athletics continue to spend like this?” The answer is, probably not. According to the study, “total revenue for the 50 public schools in the Power 5 conferences rose by $304 million in 2015, but spending rose by $332 million from the year before. At the 178 public schools in Division I conferences outside the Power Five, revenue increased by $199 million, but spending rose by $218 million.” They’re setting themselves up for a fall.

The future depends on TV money, and there’s already a fork in the road between Power 5 and Group of 5 conferences. But do the big schools have a bottomless pit? As consumers have more choices on buying the TV channels they want, those who are forced to subscribe to sports packages they don’t want are falling by the wayside. This takes buying power away from ESPN and other networks, and so starts the trickle-down effect. It’s not imminent (check out the Big 10’s current negotiations), but someday there’ll be less money to pay outrageous rights fees, fewer games on TV (games will be streamed online, with tiny audiences), and ultimately less money going to the conferences and the schools. The Group of 5 will be hit first. But then again, nothing from nothing is nothing, and those conferences won’t feel the effects as much as the Power 5.

The USA Today report also shows that in terms of percentage of subsidies received from the state and/or university for its athletic budget, Boise State was 178th out of 231 schools listed, at 28.34 percent. That’s a sustainable figure for a Group of 5 school. In the Mountain West, only New Mexico derives a smaller percentage of its program revenue from the university and the state (26.56 percent). Air Force, at 67.90 percent, has the most subsidized athletic department in the conference, but the academy is a different animal. Both San Jose State and Utah State are subsidized at more than 63 percent. Idaho is 146th on the list, with 53.1 percent of its budget subsidized.

Around the horn with Boise State opponents: BYU has released its post-spring depth chart (hey, the Broncos need one of those). At quarterback, the Cougars have an “or” in between senior Taysom Hill and sophomore Tanner Mangum at the top spot. Fall camp will, therefore, be interesting. Hill, who made a decision to give it another go this year after all his injury challenges, didn’t do much during spring football as he recovers from the Lisfranc injury he suffered at Nebraska last September. Mangum, the Eagle High grad who replaced Hill on that fateful Hail Mary day, became the first freshman 3,000-yard passer in BYU history.

Your Oregon State post-spring update: Former Utah State quarterback Darell Garretson completed 21 of 32 attempts for 263 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday in OSU’s spring game. Garretson’s the odds-on favorite to be in the saddle when Boise State visits this September. The play that went viral, however, was a blooper of sorts. Reser Stadium is being renovated during the offseason, and one end zone is blocked off. That was fine as long as the Beaver offense was attacking the other end of the field. But then came a pick-six by cornerback Dwayne Williams, who basically ignored the temporary goal line at the 10-yard line and ran into the original end zone—and, consequently, into a chain-link fence.

Fresno State is not a Boise State opponent this year, but it will be next year—and it’s a rival. We know quarterback Zack Greenlee won’t be around when the Broncos and Bulldogs meet again. Greenlee, once anointed as the heir-apparent to Derek Carr, is transferring from Fresno State to UTEP, with two years of eligibility remaining. Greenlee completed less than 47 percent of his pass attempts as a Bulldog, and he topped it off with an arrest for public drunkenness midway through last season.

Spring football is about to come to a close at the College of Idaho with Saturday’s annual Purple & Gold Game. Among the locals who take momentum into the spring finale are Tyler Cox, Austin Diffey and MicKirby. Cox, the sophomore quarterback out of Boise High, went 10-for-20 for 160 yards and three touchdowns in last Saturday’s scrimmage. Cox has impressed, but he’ll have new competition arriving this summer. Diffey, the wide receiver from Eagle, made six catches for 102 yards. And Kirby, the former Centennial High running back who transferred to the C of I from Utah, logged 73 yards on 11 carries.

How will playoff hockey on home ice treat the Idaho Steelheads this week? The Steelheads got out of Allen, TX, with a split in the first two games of the ECHL Western Conference quarterfinals. Now they return to CenturyLink Arena where they were a lukewarm 19-11-6 during the regular season. Then there’s the postseason issue—the Steelies went 3-6 in Boise during their past two playoff runs. Idaho hopes goalie Philippe Desrosiers will stay steady versus the Americans as Game 3 unfolds tonight. Desrosiers stopped 36 of 37 shots in a Game 1 victory and then turned aside 31 of 34 shots in his Game 2 defeat. The rookie has a .944 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against average so far in the series.

We may not hear his name again this season, but former Boise Hawk Kyle Schwarber underwent successful ACL reconstruction and LCL repair on his left knee yesterday. The operation was conducted by Dallas Cowboys orthopedic specialist Dr. Daniel Cooper, who has plenty of experience with knee injuries. Cooper and the Cubs expect a full recovery in time for spring training next year. Schwarber was injured in an outfield collision about two weeks ago. Hard to believe that less then two years ago he was patrolling Memorial Stadium.

This Day In Sports…April 20, 1986, 30 years ago today:

Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls’ budding superstar, scores the most points in NBA Playoffs history with a 63-point performance in the Boston Garden. He did it against a Celtics team with five future Hall of Famers—and Boston did indeed prevail in double-overtime, 135-131. Jordan was in only his second year and had missed 64 games in the regular season with a broken foot. He broke the postseason record of one-time College of Idaho Coyote Elgin Baylor, who scored 61 points for the L.A. Lakers in the 1962 Finals against the Celtics.

(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.)