NCAA Basketball

Idaho Will Join Big Sky Conference in 2014

Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

Late last week, the Big Sky Conference announced that Idaho would be returning to the league in 2014.

The majority of the school’s collegiate athletic programs will officially make the switch prior to the 2014-15 academic year with the exception of the university’s football program which will retain independence within the FCS subdivision level.

“We welcome The University of Idaho back to the Big Sky, a conference where it excelled athletically and academically for more than 30 years as a flagship member,’’ said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton in a statement. “President Duane Nellis and Athletics Director Rob Spear have faced some very difficult challenges as the conference landscape has shifted. Both are to be commended for finding a stable home with a strong academic and athletic future. Our current membership can’t wait to begin renewing old rivalries and developing new relationships with the Vandals.’’

The Vandals were a full member of the Big Sky Conference from 1963-1996. During the 1981-82 season, Idaho finished the year at 27-3 overall, moving as high as No. 6 overall within the Associated Press Top 25. They have been a member of the WAC since 2005.

Both North Dakota and Southern Utah joined the Big Sky this off-season and are currently preparing for their inaugural seasons within the league. Idaho will play the next two years in the WAC before the realignment switch officially goes through.

“We are pleased to announce the renewal of our partnership with the Big Sky Conference,” university president Duane Nellis, who signed the agreement – at the league’s Oct. 16 meeting at Park City, Utah, to move the Vandals to the Big Sky beginning with the 2014-15 school year. “As one of the six charter members, our relationship with the Big Sky is a long and storied one. Our student-athletes won team titles and individual championships, and were honored for their academic successes during our original 32 years in the league. We look forward to the same on-field and in-the-classroom achievement as we rejoin the Big Sky.

The Vandals finished the 2011-12 season with an overall mark of 19-14.

 

Be sure to follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @TheArenaPulse