Boise State AD Bleymaier ousted

Longtime Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier is leaving his position after 29 years as the school deals with sanctions across a number of sports, including football.

Boise State said Wednesday night that Bleymaier's term as AD will end on September 8.

In a statement, university president Bob Kustra said he determined the athletic program needed new leadership in an effort to "commit ourselves to the highest level of attention and enforcement of NCAA standards, and also continue to move Boise State athletics to the next level of success."

He said Bleymaier was "a driving force behind the achievements and growth of Boise State athletics for nearly 30 years."

"His dedication and guidance have been vital to the success of countless Bronco teams and student athletes," Kustra said. "As athletic director, it was Gene's inspiration that led to the signature blue turf at Bronco Stadium.

"During his tenure, Boise State has upgraded athletic facilities across campus, climbed the ladder in conference affiliation, and developed a nationwide following. On behalf of the entire Boise State community, I would like to thank Gene for his invaluable contributions to the university. The legacy that he has created will provide us with a solid foundation for many years to come."

The university will appoint an interim AD and conduct a national search to find a permanent replacement.

Bleymaier joined the athletic department in 1981 and was named AD in February 1982. In 1986, he had the famous artificial blue turf installed in Bronco Field, where the football team plays.

The Broncos have enjoyed unprecedented success in football in recent years, gaining popular support for a chance to play for the national title. But the school is currently dealing with NCAA rules violations for which it proposed self-imposed sanctions in May, including a three-year probation period.

The proposed sanctions affected football, men's tennis, women's tennis and track and field. A total of 22 alleged violations in those sports -- including one major violation in women's tennis -- led the NCAA to charge Boise State with lack of institutional control.

The NCAA hasn't yet accepted or rejected the sanctions in lieu of stiffer penalties.

Along with the three years of probation, Boise State proposed cutting three one-year scholarships in football between the 2011 and 2012 seasons. It also suggested removing three practices before the first games of both those years.

The school proposed the heaviest penalties for women's tennis, suggesting a vacation of all wins and records for matches in which ineligible athletes competed in 2008-09. It also proposed a $5,000 fine and reduction of scholarships and practice hours.

Other proposed penalties for track and field and men's tennis centered around reduction of practice hours, practices, official visits and recruiting opportunities. The school also suggested a public reprimand and censure, as well as continuing enhancements of rules education and compliance monitoring.

Most of the 22 allegations are minor, and revolve around transportation, housing and meals.

The NCAA said that in the summers of 2005-09, assistant football coaches and staff arranged housing and transportation in Boise for 63 prospective student- athletes, and the benefits added up to $4,934.

The NCAA also alleged that between 2005-09, 16 prospective student-athletes in the other sports -- men's and women's tennis, and track and field/cross country -- received $718.26 worth of benefits.

Some of the secondary violations were self-reported after Boise State began an investigation in March 2009 at the NCAA's request. The school was set to settle the matter in a summary disposition, which would have essentially treated the other infractions as unintentional.

But just days before the disposition, the school discovered a more serious violation that resulted in the NCAA's major violation charge.

The NCAA charged the head women's tennis coach and assistant coach with providing a prospective student-athlete with "impermissible transportation, cash, lodging, educational expenses and entertainment" in 2010.

The NCAA also said both coaches conducted illegal practice sessions with the prospect and allowed her to compete before she was enrolled. Boise State self- reported the violation and fired the coaches in November.

That allegation is on top of one that accused Boise State of allowing a women's tennis player to practice and compete in 2008-09, after her fourth season of competition.