Idaho and New Mexico State will no longer be a part of the Sun Belt Conference after the 2017 football season, a source told FOX Sports on Tuesday morning.
The Vandals are 6-29 the past three years and 5-18 in their two seasons in the SBC. The Aggies are 7-29 the past three seasons and 5-19 in their two seasons in the Sun Belt.
The announcement is expected to be made official later Tuesday afternoon.
“We are disappointed by the Sun Belt’s decision,” Idaho president Chuck Staben said in a statement, confirming that the Vandals were voted out of the conference. “But we are optimistic about the options before us, and we are continuing to diligently consider our future affiliation as an opportunity to find the stability and full participation we have not experienced in the Sun Belt. We will make a decision in the coming months.”
New Mexico State is joining Idaho on the way out the Sun Belt door.
Staben added that Idaho will now evaluate whether to play an independent schedule or accept an invitation from the FCS Big Sky Conference for the fall 2018 season.
This was a strategic decision that was reached following a thorough and complete review of our options,” said Sun Belt Conference and Texas State University President Dr. Denise Trauth. “The Sun Belt’s presidents and chancellors strongly believe it is in the best interest of the conference to have a core membership of 10 football teams that are geographically located within the ‘footprint’ of the conference and that these 10 members also compete in all conference sports. This decision, along with the full 12-team membership that goes into place for the 2016-17 season with the addition of Coastal Carolina University, will reduce travel demands and missed class time for all Sun Belt student-athletes – while also furthering the development of regional rivalries within the conference.”
The other nine football-playing members of the conference – Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy – will be joined by Coastal Carolina in 2017 to complete the 10-team configuration that will be in place for the 2018 season.