The Sun Belt has decided on Tuesday it does not want Idaho as a member after the 2017 season, which leaves the Vandals scrambling to find a place to call home for its football team.
“We are disappointed by the Sun Belt’s decision,” said Chuck Staben, UI president. “But we are optimistic about the options before us and we are continuing to diligently consider our future affiliation as an opportunity to find the stability and full participation we have not experienced in the Sun Belt. We will make a decision in the coming months.”
This decision comes from the Sun Belt 10 days before its previously announced deadline of March 10 when it said league presidents would vote to determine whether or not to keep UI in the conference. UI made a presentation to the Sun Belt in mid-February, at the conference’s request, to outline UI’s value to the conference. New Mexico State was also dropped by the Sun Belt.
Options for the school include playing an independent schedule or joining the Big Sky Conference, which plays at the FCS level. The Vandals have bounced around conferences as members of the FBS. They were part of the Sun Belt from 2001-04 and members of the Western Athletic Conference from 2005-12. Idaho was independent in 2013 before returning to the Sun Belt in 2014.
“The University of Idaho will continue to assess how to provide the best experience for our student-athletes and fans,” Staben said. “Football is an important part of the college experience. A strong, stable athletic program complements the university’s great academic programs, enhances the student experience and engages our alumni and fans.”
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