By Brian Murphy
Idaho football coach Robb Akey said the Vandals are considering independence as a way to keep their program's Football Bowl Subdivision options open.
Idaho is one of two football-playing schools left in the decimated Western Athletic Conference. New Mexico State is the other.
"We've been trying like a son of a gun to find a home. The best place for us would be the Mountain West. They don't want us right now. I understand all those things. Hopefully, it's going to re-allocate. I would expect there would be a change again in a couple more years," Akey told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we end up having to operate as an independent for a few years. We're just looking for a home, my brother."
Akey acknowledged it would be difficult for the Vandals to schedule games, particularly later in the season when other conferences are playing league games.
"Is it the ideal answer? Absolutely not. I think it's a necessity if we can't get ourselves into a conference situation. It's a necessity to remain at that level," Akey said. "If some of the gurus are right and people are jumping around again in a couple years, you need to keep yourself in a position to be an option."
The Vandals' other option is to join the Big Sky, a Football Championship Subdivision conference.
Idaho President Duane Nellis said the school is still exploring three options, including independence and moving to the Big Sky. Nellis said he has not given up hope of joining the Mountain West.
"We’ve worked hard to figure out a way to stay at the FBS level for football," Nellis said. "In the context of football, like to continue to play at the FBS level."
Nellis said he hopes the school can announce a decision before the start of the football season.
Notre Dame, BYU, Army and Navy are currently FBS independents. Navy is scheduled to join the Big East in 2015.
Vandal football camp
Akey said several high school teams had to back out of Idaho's camp for a variety of reasons (personnel, financial, coaching staff changes), prompting Idaho to cancel its football camp.
Akey said economic conditions have made it difficult for kids to attend camp, with more teams preferring to stay closer to home.
"We want it to be done the right way," Akey said.
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