Idaho Will Join Sun Belt Conference As Football-Only Member in 2 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Idaho Vandals Football

Idaho Will Join Sun Belt Conference As Football-Only Member in 2014

Updated:
Head football coach Paul Petrino and the Idaho Vandals have been approved to accept an invitation to the Sun Belt Conference. Head football coach Paul Petrino and the Idaho Vandals have been approved to accept an invitation to the Sun Belt Conference.

Idaho has accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference as a football-only member, effective July 1, 2014. New Mexico State will also join the conference as a football-only member, while Georgia Southern and Appalachian State will be added as full-fledged constituents.

The Idaho State Board of Education voted unanimously on Wednesday to allow the university to join the conference.

"We're very excited to be here today and announce that the University of Idaho is joining the Sun Belt Conference for football-only membership," athletic director Rob Spear said. "It's something that we've been working towards for quite a long time, since we announced our independent status back in August. It's going to provide great stability for our football program."

The Sun Belt will have 12 football members with the additions in 2014, which allows it to split into two six-team divisions and hold a conference championship game. Sun Belt members will play either eight or nine conference games a season, commissioner Karl Benson said, although that has yet to be decided upon.

"This does take us to 12 football playing schools and it is our intention to conduct a football championship game, although we aren't ready to discuss any of the details or any of the arrangements, although I think I've made it very clear that one of our goals was to get to 12 football playing schools so we could conduct a football championship game," Benson said.

Spear said he originally reached out to Benson about a year ago and the two have talked once a month since then, as both expected conference shifts.

"I think the Sun Belt's in a good situation. I think they have a lot of access to a lot of schools in their region of the country," Spear said. "They have the ability to expand and invite additions. One of the only questions we had was, 'OK, what happens if you have more movement in the conference?' They certainly have plans to invite other institutions to their conference. I think they're in a pretty good spot."

Idaho was an attractive match for the Sun belt for a variety of reason, but the commitment to be an FBS program may have been the strongest.

"They are an existing FBS ... member, they've invested a lot into their program," Benson said. "[They] have made a commitment to be an FBS in football. The renovations and the additions made to the Kibbie Dome the last few years has established and created a much better football environment in the Kibbie Dome for the Vandals."

The Vandals, who were members of the Sun Belt Conference from 2001-2005 before joining the Western Athletic Conference, will play the 2013 season as an independent. Spear said that he made a concerted effort not to lock Idaho into a schedule for the 2014 season to maintain flexibility if an opportunity to join a conference were to arise.

The financial motivations for a school to be an FBS program are reason enough to not drop to the FCS level, Spear said. He stated the belief that Idaho would bring in $1 million dollars minimum in revenue by year three and four of joining the Sun Belt. Spear also mentioned the belief that more FCS programs are "opening their eyes" to moving to FBS because of the financial repercussions.

One potential logistical issue with the Sun Belt is travel, as the majority of the conference is located in the southern part of the country, ranging from Texas to Florida. But Spear said he has no concerns with travel.

"It was an issue raised by our state board of education," he said. "We pointed out to them our travel situation the past few years, especially when we were in the old WAC, going to Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State. So traveling four times a year down in the south is not a big issue.

"The challenge for us, I think, and important to us, is to get our nonconference scheduling more in the west, and I think we'll do that."

  • College

    • WSU’s 9th inning rally held off by No. 8 Stanford

      PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State put runners on first and second in ninth inning but No. 8 Stanford turned away the rally to post a 5-3 victory at Bailey-Brayton Field Friday afternoon.   The Cougars (24-28, 10-19 Pac-12) put runners on with one out in the ninth but the Cardinal (39-14, 20-9 Pac) ended the game with a strikeout and groundout.

    • Gonzaga one win away from a NCAA Tournament berth

      STOCKTON, Calif.--A host of scouts came out to Friday's WCC Championships game between top-seeded Gonzaga and second-seed Loyola Marymount to see LMU starter Cory Abbott Friday afternoon, but it was Gonzaga starter Justin Vernia who stole the show as he powered the Zags to a 3-1 win and a berth in the tournament title game.

    • Bennie Seltzer returns to WSU as assistant basketball coach

      PULLMAN, Wash. – A former Cougar standout on the basketball court and 20-year coaching veteran, Bennie Seltzer returns to Pullman to join Ernie Kent's staff as an assistant men's basketball coach, Kent announced Friday.

    • Cougars Drop Series-Opener to No. 8 Stanford

      PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State dropped the series-opener with No. 8 Stanford 13-2 at Bailey-Brayton Field Thursday evening. The Cougars (24-27, 10-18 Pac-12) collected 10 hits led by junior Shane Matheny’s 3-for-4 performance, recording his third 3-hit game of the season. WSU also received two-hit games from sophomore shortstop Andres Alvarez, junior Cory Meyer and junior left fielder Blake Clanton. Meyer and Clanton each drove in a run in the ninth. S...

    • Offensive Surge Pushes Zags into Winner’s Bracket at WCC Tournament

      STOCKTON, Calif.—It took a few innings, but the Bulldog offense hit top gear Thursday afternoon, propelling the top-seeded Gonzaga baseball team past fourth-seed Saint Mary’s 11-3 and into the winners’ bracket of the West Coast Conference Championships at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif. Saint Mary’s scored the game’s first runs, scoring twice in the top of the third off atypical wildness from GU starter Eli Morgan. Afte...

    • 7-foot graduate transfer Benas Griciunas to play for Eagles

      Seven-foot center Benas Griciunas from UNC Charlotte will spend his senior season as a graduate transfer at Eastern Washington University and play for Shantay Legans, the new EWU head men's basketball coach announced Thursday (May 25).

    • Former Gonzaga player Vivian Frieson named NAU assistant coach

      FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona women's basketball head coach Loree Payne completed her staff on Wednesday with former Gonzaga standout Vivian Frieson announced as assistant coach. "We're very excited to add Vivian to our coaching staff," Payne said. "The culture that she has been around playing at Gonzaga

    • Huskies host USC for final regular season series

      SEATTLE - Husky Ballpark will be abuzz starting Thursday as the Huskies have a big weekend in store for the final home series of the year. On the field, UW (26-25, 12-15 Pac-12) hosts USC (20-32, 7-20) in an important series, starting Thursday

    • No. 1 seeded Gonzaga begins WCC Championships against Saint Mary's

      This is the second time the Zags have been the championship’s top seed, also taking No. 1 in the very first tournament in 2013...Gonzaga has reached Banner Island Ballpark four times in the competition’s five-year history...Gonzaga and BYU are the only two schools to qualify for four WCC tournaments.

    • Gonzaga's Johnathan Williams will return for senior season

      SPOKANE, Wash. – Johnathan Williams will return to Gonzaga for his senior season after initially submitting his name into the NBA Draft without hiring an agent.   By not signing with an agent, Williams retained his collegiate eligibility to keep the option to return to Gonzaga in 2017-18. A key player in last season’s run to the national championship game.

    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • IdahoIdahoMore>>

  • Idaho's Victor Sanders returns for senior season

    Idaho's Victor Sanders returns for senior season

    Courtesy: Idaho AthleticsCourtesy: Idaho Athletics

    MOSCOW, Idaho – After working out with a handful of NBA teams, junior guard Victor Sanders has elected to return to Idaho for his senior season in 2017-18.   He led the Vandals with 20.9 points per game a season ago, helping Idaho to a Big Sky Tournament Semifinal appearance and a first round win in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

    More >>

    MOSCOW, Idaho – After working out with a handful of NBA teams, junior guard Victor Sanders has elected to return to Idaho for his senior season in 2017-18.   He led the Vandals with 20.9 points per game a season ago, helping Idaho to a Big Sky Tournament Semifinal appearance and a first round win in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

    More >>
  • Lewis-Clark State College earns No. 5 seed in Avista NAIA World Series

    Lewis-Clark State College earns No. 5 seed in Avista NAIA World Series

    Courtesy: LCSC AthleticsCourtesy: LCSC Athletics

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The LCSC baseball now knows its path to a third-consecutive title and 19th overall National Championship.   The Warriors were named the No. 5 Seed in the 10-team 2017 Avista NAIA Baseball World Series. They will play No. 4 Keiser at 7 p.m. on Friday May 26.   LCSC finished the regular season with an overall record of 35-13.

    More >>

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The LCSC baseball now knows its path to a third-consecutive title and 19th overall National Championship.   The Warriors were named the No. 5 Seed in the 10-team 2017 Avista NAIA Baseball World Series. They will play No. 4 Keiser at 7 p.m. on Friday May 26.   LCSC finished the regular season with an overall record of 35-13.

    More >>
  • NAIA World Series bracket revealed; all games Live on SWX

    NAIA World Series bracket revealed; all games Live on SWX

    The defending champion Lewis-Clark State Warriors will look to win their 19th NAIA World SeriesThe defending champion Lewis-Clark State Warriors will look to win their 19th NAIA World Series

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket – PDF | Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced the seeds and bracket for the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, hosted by Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

    More >>

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket – PDF | Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced the seeds and bracket for the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, hosted by Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

    More >>