COLLEGES: With Idaho State Board of Education approval Friday, the University of Idaho is free to become a Football Bowl Subdivision independent next season and join the Big Sky Conference in all other sports.
The board, on a 5-1 vote in a special session, also gave UI the OK to join the Big Sky in football if the Vandals can’t fill out their schedule next year.
Athletic director Rob Spear is glad to have the added flexibility, but he’s confident a 12-game schedule next year will come together in the next three weeks.
“We wouldn’t be sitting here today and we wouldn’t have approached our State Board of Education if we weren’t confident we could get it done,” Spear said. “But … it all depends on getting those contracts signed.”
UI has five games scheduled for 2013, including Northern Illinois at home. Spear said he has contracts pending with three schools and is in negotiations with two.
Spear expects UI will play fellow WAC holdover New Mexico State twice next year in a home-and-home arrangement. The Aggies are likely to be an independent in 2013 after the WAC fell apart as a football league.
The Vandals will play three high-payout games a year to make independence work financially, Spear said.
A UI news release stated that Spear expects to have a decision from the Big Sky in the next three weeks.
Jackson leaves WWU for Huskies
Basketball: Brad Jackson is leaving as head coach of Division II national champion Western Washington to join Lorenzo Romar’s staff at Washington as an assistant.
Jackson had been the head coach at Western Washington for 27 years, racking up 518 wins. The Vikings won their first national title last season.
Romar said getting Jackson coming off a national title is “an absolute steal.” It’s unclear if Jackson is an addition to the staff or replacing another assistant coach.