By Brian Murphy
Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said Thursday that he is close to completing contracts for two non-conference games in 2012, thus eliminating the possibility of playing Boise State that year.
Idaho and Boise State will not play in 2011, ending a streak of 40 consecutive years with a game between the Gem State rivals.
"It's safe to say we won't be playing in 2012," Spear said.
The Vandals will have six conference games in the WAC in 2012 and non-conference games against Eastern Washington (home), Wyoming (home), LSU (away) and Bowling Green (away). The Vandals are working on a non-conference game at BYU.
Boise State has eight conference games, plus games scheduled at Michigan State and home against Miami (Ohio) and BYU. The Broncos can play 13 regular-season games in 2012 because they are scheduled to play at Hawaii.
Travel partners for basketball
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said the league will go to travel partners for men's basketball in 2012-13. Idaho will partner with Seattle.
The other partners will be:
Utah State and San Jose State
New Mexico State and Denver
UT-Arlington and Louisiana Tech
UT-San Antonio and Texas State
Benson said the new scheduling arrangement will "reduce travel costs, reduce missed class time and reduce travel demands." He also said the arrangement will give road teams a better chance to win games and help the league become a two-bid NCAA Tournament league again.
WAC adds UT-Arlington
The Western Athletic Conference is expanding again. The league announced Thursday that it will add Texas-Arlington for the 2012-13 season, pushing its membership to 10 teams at that time. UT-Arlington does not sponsor football, making three non-football playing members in the league.
For 2012-13, the league will be: Idaho, Denver (non-football), Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Seattle (non-football), Texas State, UT-Arlington, UT-San Antonio and Utah State.
The league lost Boise State on July 1 and will lose Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada next year.
WAC official release
DENVER, COLO. - The Western Athletic Conference and Commissioner Karl Benson announced on Thursday that an invitation for membership has been issued to and accepted by The University of Texas at Arlington to join the conference effective July 1, 2012. With the addition, the WAC will consist of 10 full-time members for the 2012-13 season; Denver (non-football), Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Seattle (non-football), Texas State, UT Arlington (non-football), UTSA and Utah State.
"We are very pleased to add UT Arlington as the 10th member of the WAC for 2012," said Commissioner Karl Benson. "Besides bringing top level academics to the league, the addition will provide a geographical balance to the WAC and help in the creation of travel partners as we attempt to further expand to two six-team divisions in the future."
"UT Arlington and the Dallas-Fort Worth region also bring in another Top 20 media market to go along with the recent additions of Seattle and Denver. The addition will significantly help the WAC in securing more lucrative television rights fees in the future," said Benson.
UT Arlington, currently a member of the Southland Conference, is an institution founded in 1895 with an enrollment of nearly 34,000. It is the second-largest university in the UT system. The Mavericks sponsor 14 intercollegiate sports that will compete in the WAC - baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field and women's volleyball.
UT Arlington's move to the WAC coincides with the first full season of volleyball and basketball to be played in the University's new College Park Center, a 6,500-seat, split bowl arena. Both the men's and women's basketball teams have competed recently in the NCAA basketball tournament with the men last appearing in 2008 and the women the season prior. The volleyball team had its most successful season in 1989 when it advanced the Final Four.
You can follow Murph's Turf on Twitter.
You can find links to stories, photos and video by being a fan of Brian Murphy on Facebook.