Man, you have it in for the Big Sky !
The BSC didn't destroy the WAC, I'll lay that at the feet of the MWC and Big East.
The WAC had become an FBS "starter confence" and those that could ascend higher all made the move.
Are all of Fullerton's motivations altruistic ? - doubtful !
Is the BSC in position to dictate terms as the issue invitations ? - Yes, but isn't that always the case ?
I believe you are correct that only Idaho has been in discussions that one might refer to as "invitation negotiations".
The articles seem to indicate that idaho would be welcomed for all sports (not necessarily including football) initially,
and then maybe there is a deadline (2 years out ?) whereby if Idaho has not joined an FBS confernece,
they would be expected to drop to FCS and play in the Big Sky.
I do think Idaho is the most-wanted WAC school, but it may also be the lynch-pin for the grander plan of
having 2 8-school conferneces under the BSC umbrella (unless that is all just a big red herring).
There is not a lot of margin for error, with regard to the numbers.
Boise State sounds like they are DEFINITELY in BW/BEFB mode, so the Big Sky needs to reel in 5 of:
Idaho, NMSU, Denver, Seattle, UVU, CSU-B.
If this scenario is indeed the grand plan, the BSC must know which schools they ultimately want to bring on board.
And if Idaho is still hedging, then that holds up the grand plan.
Why would schools such as Seattle, Denver, and UVU NOT regard the Big Sky as a nice fit ?
1) D-1 athletics,
2) nice regional geography and rivals about as local as you can get out west,
What are the other options ?
If you merge the WAC and GW right now, you have:
Seattle, Denver, Idaho, NMSU, UVU, UTPA, Chicago St. and NJIT. Let's say CSU-B is availbale too (they have given GW mebership some consideration).
OBVIOUSLY, NJIT is looking for an east coast home, and does NOT regard this as a long-term solution.
Chicago State is only part of this mess due to some improprieties in their athletic management, which led them to be asked to leave the Summit (Mid-Con at that time).
Pretty sure UTPA is part of the Great West due to similar mis-adventure.
THAT'S IT !!! Pretty hard to put this all together and create something (WITH A MINIMUM OF 8 SCHOOLS) that you can call stable.
The Big Sky looks pretty darn good by comparison.
I think they only need 7 schools, so IF they can convince Idaho to stay, they need only add UVU, UTPA, and CSUB. (Fresno St. Alum also mentioned GCU as a possibility in a post last week, so keep that in mind.) I agree that NJIT will probably get accepted into an eastern conference, and Chicago St. is not reliable, but I spent some time last weekend looking at UTPA and they appear to be getting their act together. With Idaho, the WAC should be a viable conference - at least for a couple years.
I do not have it in for the Big Sky. I do have a major problem with Fullerton trying to take over another conference, which I consider WAY over the line. I understand his obligation to defend and strengthen his conference, but I think what he is attempting is far beyond what is appropriate for a conference commissioner.
I also have a problem with the way Idaho appears to be handling this. They should avoid doing anything that undermines the WAC's negotiating position.
Boise St. certainly deserves some criticism too, but that's "beating a dead horse."