(Cont from Post 13)
Post 14/Page 14
But the problem with UI, besides it not doing too well on the football field, for becoming a BCS school, or even a MWC school is that its situated in one of the most remote if not the most remote location in Division 1-A college football (based on proximity to mid to large metropolitan areas). Moscow, a city of 21,000 people is located 300 miles from the largest concentration of population in the state, Boise. The closest metropolitan area, Lewiston, which just recently was designated as a metropolitan area, is 1/2 hour to the south. However, Lewiston is the 2nd smallest metropolitan area in the nation out of 300 metropolitan areas, with about 57,000 people. Coeur d’ Alene is a smaller metropolitan are with a population of 108,000 is located 85 miles to the north. Moscow, which is in Latah County has about 35,000 people. Pullman, WA is located next door and adds another 40,000 people from Whitman County, WA. However, Pullman is home to a major flagship state university for the 15th largest state in the nation, Washington State University serving a state with 6 million people, and thus its fans would follow WSU. Spokane, WA, with 415,000 people in its metropolitan area is located 100 miles to north. This metro area is nearly the size of Boise. However, being that its in the State of Washington and 85 miles from Pullman and WSU, that market would predominantly follow WSU.
Now, granted being that UI is the only major flagship state university in the state of Idaho, and serves a statewide mission, it would have a fan base located throughout the state, including Boise, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, and the Panhandle area cities that I mentioned that are near Moscow. However, its still an issue of immediate market population, and the Idaho panhandle doesn’t have a large population base and most likely won’t become a Boise or a Spokane (whether that be Coeur d’ Alene, Moscow, or Lewiston) in the near 20 or 30 year time frame. The Idaho Panhandle is still quite rural and will remain so 20 to 30 years into the future. This is coupled with the relatively inaccessibility of that region to a major airport. I remember sometime within the last 20 years I was watching a nationally televised college football game that was being announced by either Keith Jackson or Brent Musberger, I can’t remember which one. They were commenting on the most inaccessible college football towns to televise a college football game. Their two top choices were Pullman, WA which is 85 miles from Spokane (a relatively mid-sized airport), and State College, PA which is 85 miles from Harrisburg’s mid-sized airport. Well, if Pullman is relatively inaccessible, so is Moscow.
Now the case for Boise State University becoming a BCS school, which would mostly likely mean the Pac 10 would ask them to join, is also very complicated, and very not likely. Boise State is very likely to become a Mountain West Conference school because its similar to two of its current members, UNLV and San Diego State, that being it is a urban grant/metropolitan grant/commuter school. But when you look at all the current 64 members of the BCS conferences, 50 of them are major flagship state universities, as I have defined earlier, 11 of them are academically prestigious private universities. Only 3 of the current 64 BCS schools are defined as urban grant/metropolitan grant/commuter schools, which are the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University (technically it is one for the year 2004, but then will be removed from this list when it will leave the Big East and become a most-likely independent school). All three of these schools are a rare exception and all are not like most urban grant/metropolitan grant/commuter schools. For the case of the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University, which are considered 2 of the 3 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s major public research universities ( the other being Pennsylvania State University). Prior to 1965, both the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University were private universities with high academic reputations, and had a long history as major academic institutions nationally. Especially the University of Pittsburgh which dates back to 1787. So these two universities, while technically defined as urban grant/metropolitan grant/commuter schools, they really are like Syracuse University or Boston College, or perhaps a bit like Rutgers (as that was a private university that was converted to the State University of New Jersey), in academic reputation. So its only by a technical definition that Pitt and Temple are defined this way, and could be nationally prestigious private universities if the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania did not buy them in the mid 1960’s.
(Cont on Post 15)