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Boise State wants court to void $5M cancellation penalty

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Boise State is asking a judge to declare that the school does not owe a $5 million penalty for cancelling its entry into the Big East Conference last year.

The university announced Monday it had filed a lawsuit in 4th District Court in Boise after a representative of what will soon be the American Athletic Conference said the conference intended to sue the university.

Boise State signed an agreement in December 2011 to join the Big East in 2013 for football. However, the school says the conference lost three-quarters of its membership over the next year, failed to add more football schools west of the Mississippi and lost its guaranteed spot in BCS bowls. In December, Boise State opted to stay in the Mountain West Conference for all sports.

University President Bob Kustra argues the conference the Broncos agreed to join no longer exists.

"Boise State entered into that agreement in good faith and with a great degree of optimism, but the conference we agreed to join simply no longer exists," Kustra said.

Big East officials say the lawsuit is disappointing, but that they are confident the university will have to pay the cancellation fee required in the contract.

"We are disappointed that Boise State has gone to court to try to avoid the contractual obligation that it made to the Conference to pay $5 million for refusing to join after committing to do so," Big East Commissioner Michael Aresco said in a statement.

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