Sun Belt Conference rules out taking Idaho as member

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

The Sun Belt Conference closed the door on a potential landing spot for the University of Idaho's football program or athletic department Wednesday.

The league announced the addition of Texas-Arlington — which was scheduled to join the WAC in 2013 — for the 2013 season and said it is content with future makeup. The Sun Belt will have 10 football-playing members and two non-football schools for the 2013-14 season. The league will divide into six-team divisions for basketball and volleyball.

The Sun Belt will not hold a football championship game with just 10 football-playing members.

"We are not pursuing additional members at this time. To squelch the speculation of a football championship game, it is not high on our radar screen and priority list," Commissioner Karl Benson said. "... We wanted to be fair (to the schools that have contacted us). At this juncture, the Sun Belt shouldn't be considered a landing spot whether it's an FCS member or an existing FBS member."

Benson, the former commissioner of the WAC, said he spoke with Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear about the "direction the Sun Belt was headed." Benson said the Sun Belt's announcement "allows both Idaho and New Mexico State to know the direction the Sun Belt is headed. Personally, I wish the best for the University of Idaho and New Mexico State."

Spear said the school would consider four options for its athletic department with the WAC down to just two football-playing members (Idaho, New Mexico State) in 2013.

The four options:

• An all-sport membership in a Football Bowl Subdivision conference.

• A football membership in an FBS conference with other sports programs in another Division I conference.

• FBS football independence with other sports programs in a Division I conference.

• The feasibility and future of Football Championship Subdivision football (formerly Division I-AA).

Having been rejected by the Mountain West and now the Sun Belt, Idaho is running out of options for remaining in a Football Bowl Subdivision conference.

Spear declined comment Tuesday.

The WAC is down to five members for non-football sports in 2013: Idaho, New Mexico State, Boise State, Denver and Seattle. Boise State is exploring other options for its non-football programs, including the Big West, when it moves its football program to the Big East in 2013.

WAC Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd told the Statesman on Wednesday that the league continues to explore every option available. The WAC's Board of Directors will meet June 11-12 in Denver.

"We've spent the last four to six weeks going through various options we think are viable for us and looking at those different possibilities," Hurd said. "We're trying to move forward. We're trying to survive as a viable conference and maintain an FBS-level entity with the WAC. We're going to exhaust every possible option out there."

Hurd said Boise State has been upfront with the conference.

"They would like to see the WAC survive and maintain as a viable home for its non-football sports. At the same time, Boise State has to look out for itself and explore all the options available," Hurd said.

• Colorado State Athletic Director Jack Graham said he was part of the Mountain West's recent efforts to keep Boise State in the league and that the league offered to distribute revenue based on success rather than equally so it could hold onto the Broncos.

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FLAGSHIP? NO!

Not according to anybody but the delusional Vandull faithful. If it's such a flagship, why did the SBOE remove the word from the mission statement and everyone yawned while your huge petition drive that was going to bring the state to its knees failed to get even 6,500 signatures? Read the Yardley Report which U of I paid for and then let us all know what a flagship you are. Hint: You're off by one letter.

when a university

doubles the graduation rate of other in-state universities... it's the flagship.

sinking

flagship

Because they were stupid and bored. NEXT!

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It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.

been successful for a lot longer than 10 years in football "FLAG

BSU has two national championships in football which gave them a right to step up - where they are still having years and years of success. Not so much so with the Vandals AMIGA

10 years of winning

100 years of losers.

Didn't take long for all the Vandals

to get their panties in a wad. Worked to perfection, as usual. Sure a sensitive bunch of name callers. Dish it out, but can't take it....Sunny...

Nice!

You got that right, Sunny. Well said.

Wow, cool! You guys are awesome Internet trolls!

I'm glad that you're proud of your accomplishment. Pretty typical that a bunch of Donk homers would be impressed with something so stupid...

You responded, Esmeralda.

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It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.

Does your mouth hurt

from the hook being set? It is called embarassment Sum guy.

Calm down

Some young Guy

Big Sky Bound

Going back to the Big Sky would be a good thing. They could win some games, have geographically compatible rivals and maybe even put some fans in the seats.

Not to mention

They can compare notes on farming with a couple new flagships.

Vandals To Big Sky...

is something I recently posted but I am not sure now if they can even compete there. The U of I flagship has been taking on water for some time now. This is a sports blog and I hate to see people post educational stats here but the Idaho Board OF Education really needs to examine the down fall of the U of I. When has Idaho ever had a ranked team in any sport? They may have had a better football team last year but we need to look at all sports. Can this state really afford Idaho to even have sports? The sports teams are losing money across the board. The U of I used to be a class act. Spear and Akey need to go away before Idaho can ever be compared to Boise State. My guess recruiting for Idaho will be more difficult than the Boise State Olympic sports.

You fry wants with that?

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It you go online and yell FAQ YOU TOO

You are cut off at the well son.

Dumb

"..but I am not sure now if they can even compete there."

Clueless post.

Why is it dumb?

You do realize that Idaho is 0-5 against Montana and EWU since moving "up" to FBS, right? Yeah, that sounds pretty competitive. I was really impressed with the five points they scored against EWU. If they can't beat the best of the Big Sky with 85 scholarships, how will they do it with 63?

Yeah

I remember the Vanduls scoring 5 points against EWU, when they ended up losing 8-5! That was in 2003, when they lost to both EWU AND Montana! That year, Tom Cable openly admitted that Idaho should go back to the Big Sky. Don't worry about the Vandul faithful, they'll always downgrade others with facts without having to deal with their own facts. In other words, they can dish it, but they can't take it.

Great comment

: )

It is better. . .

The Big Sky Commish said something to the effect of, it is better to be at the top of the FCS than the bottom of the FBS. In that regard, I think a move to the Big Sky isn't a bad thing. My only regret is that, as posted before, they probably won't play each other too often. To say never again is premature, n"ever" is a long time.

UI Football

If academics were all that mattered to the UI, they wouldn't be wasting time and money in FBS. They wouldn't be spending money on improvements to athletic facilities and adding said facilities to their six year plan while holding a $100,000,000 shortfall in campus maintenance projects.

Yes 42 of your land grant peers are in the FBS, but guess where you will find some of those 7 that aren't? That's right, in the Big Sky. UC Davis, Montana State, and you could take your friend New Mexico State with you to make four land grant schools. Guess how many peer universities are FBS independent. Zero. Good luck with that.

Same old arguments, football doesn't matter, blah blah

except during their hot streak when football did matter, really did matter, a lot. But now it doesn't because...um, oh yeah, Vandals don't matter. Perhaps the 5A high school conference will take them.
Pride goeth before a fall, folks. Vandal fans have a hard time distinguishing between school pride and blind arrogance. That's okay, their neighbors to the south will keep developing programs while ignoring the boorish jibes. Time will truly tell where the gasbags blow and the flagship sails.

Go to Peterson's and get a new flagship.

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You fry wants with that?

Take away crappy football...

and Idaho is still a crappy 3rd tier university.

You are an ignorant idiot

Go ahead and compare UI to BSU and come back. You'll find one is a tier-1 nationally ranked research university and the other is a regionally-ranked university on even ground with EWU, CWU, WWU, etc.

I did compare

I read the Yardley Report. Enough said. Some of the dumbest clowns I went to high school with had no problem getting into and graduating from Idaho, so spare me the crap about what a superior school it is. If it's so fantastic, why did U of I President Hoover pass up free educations for his kids at DUI to spend $250,000 to have them educated at C of I? When your own President won't send his kids there, it tells you all you need to know.

BSU is not even 3rd tier

BSU is not even that, They are get a regional university in the west. Behind WWU, EWU, CWU and NNU.

Idaho is in the TOP 100 Public research universities in the US.

robert the beagle

not on this list.

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/top-public/spp%2B50/page+2

ok, upon further review it is 85

Troglodytes

Why do BSU fans insist on being such troglodytes?

probably because there were so many years of vandal

in your face arrogance and insults. It's hard not to go down the troglodyte path when it has been so well paved by Vandals. We should take the higher road.