Report: Leon Rice still being targeted by WSU

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Despite reports that Rice was staying at Boise State, WSU appears to be continuing its pursuit.

Late last night, news broke that Leon Rice had broken off negotiations with WSU to become its next basketball coach and decided to remain at Boise State. Now comes word from the Spokesman-Review's Jacob Thorpe that WSU's pursuit of Rice might not be over.

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Thorpe is reporting that WSU athletics director Bill Moos and president Elson Floyd are traveling to Boise to try and change Rice's mind, reinforcing the belief that Rice was WSU's target when Floyd told the Board of Regents that a contract offer had been extended and it was discovered that Rice had, in fact, interviewed for the job.

It might seem at first blush that continuing to pursue Rice is a long shot or an act of desperation, but a story in the Idaho Press-Tribune indicated that Rice's reported raise was a bit surprising, as it was believed Boise State didn't have a lot of room to increase the raise that Rice agreed to after last season.

Rice didn't figure to have a ton of room to negotiate a better deal at Boise State. The Broncos likely couldn't have come close to matching the money that Washington State could have thrown his way, and Rice's bargaining power would have seemed to diminish with the team underachieving this past season.

The Broncos have looked into possible renovations at Taco Bell Arena - including a new video board and sound system - and could have dangled those possibilities as ways to keep Rice in the fold as well.

The story also emphasizes that Rice's team disappointed this year, failing to live up to expectations by missing out on a second consecutive NCAA tournament despite returning all five starters. Perhaps Moos and Floyd believe that it won't take much of an increased offer to convince Rice to change his mind. Stay tuned.

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