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Boise St. moves closer to joining Big East

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho State Board of Education gave Boise State permission to pursue membership in the Big East on Thursday.

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But the vote came with a caveat.

School president Bob Kustra told the board — and its members agreed — the formation of a Western division is essential.

"The Big East is working on partners for a Western division with a championship game (against the Eastern division)," Kustra said.

With Pittsburgh and Syracuse headed to the ACC (at an undetermined date) and West Virginia the Big 12 (it hopes by July), the Big East has five football-playing schools.

Earlier this week, school presidents signed off on a plan to add schools. The conference reportedly will invite Boise State, Air Force and Navy for football only and SMU, Houston and Central Florida for all sports, giving it 11 football-playing schools.

The NCAA requires conferences to have 12 to stage a championship game. And with Boise State, Air Force, SMU and Houston, that would require two more schools for a Western division.

CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that lawyers from Boise State, UCF, Houston and SMU were working with the Big East to make a joint announcement. But Kustra told the state's board a move might not occur until next week because the Broncos still must secure a home for its other sports. Kustra said he has had talks with other conferences but declined to disclose which ones.

UCF and Houston previously gave their presidents permission to negotiate with other conferences. Thursday, UCF president John Hitt told the Orlando Sentinel he expects a resolution by next week and the Knights likely would join on July 1, 2013.

Boise State also would join July 1, 2013. Kustra said by providing more than a year's notice to leave the Mountain West, the school would avoid a $5 million exit fee.

Kentucky: Freshman Max Smith will start at quarterback Saturday against Mississippi. Incumbent Morgan Newton, a junior, sprained an ankle against Mississippi State.

Oregon: Quarterback Darron Thomas said he feels like, "I'm going to be ready to go 100 percent," for Saturday's game against Washington. The junior missed a game with an unspecified knee injury then was benched last week after throwing two first-half interceptions.

Basketball: Gators rout Catholic in exhibition

GAINESVILLE — Freshman Bradley Beal scored 20 to lead No. 8 Florida past Division III Catholic 114-57 in the Gators' only exhibition game of the season.

Mike Rosario, a transfer from Rutgers who sat out last season, scored 18 off the bench for the Gators, who made 20 of 40 3-pointers. Kenny Boynton added 21, Erik Murphy 17 and Erving Walker 15.

Billy Donovan, son of the Florida coach of the same name, led the Cardinals with 13 points.

"This is probably the best I've ever seen one of my dad's teams shoot," the younger Donovan said.

"I think we're explosive offensively, and certainly we got it going in the first half," the elder Donovan said.

The younger Donovan's mother, Christine, wore a Catholic T-shirt while sitting behind her husband's bench.

"It was a little weird at first, but as soon as Patric Young boxes you out and Casey Prather dunks on you, it definitely opens up your eyes a little bit," the younger Donovan said.

The Gators open the season Nov. 11 at home against Jackson State.

Michigan: Forward Mitch McGary, the nation's No. 2 overall recruit, according to Scout.com and ESPN, orally committed. The 6-foot-10 native of Chesteron, Ind., who is currently playing at a prep school in New Hampshire, also considered Florida, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina. He can sign a letter of intent Wednesday.

Miss. State: The NCAA suspended forward Kristers Zeidaks for this season and 11 games of next season for playing with and against pro players in his native Latvia.

Virginia Tech: J.T. Thompson, expected to start at power forward, will miss the season with a torn right ACL sustained during practice Wednesday. He missed last season with a torn left ACL.

Boise St. moves closer to joining Big East 11/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 4, 2011 12:23am]

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