Idaho Joins Big Sky, Sun Belt - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Idaho Joins Big Sky, Sun Belt

University of Idaho Athletics is reuniting with two former conferences as the Vandals move forward into 2014 and beyond.

The football program rejoins the Sun Belt Conference, where the Vandals were one of the original football members when the league added the sport in 2001. Meanwhile, all other sports – except swimming and diving, once again will be members of the Big Sky Conference – a league the Vandals helped form 51 years ago.

“As a founding member of the Big Sky Conference, we are extremely excited for our return and the opportunity to compete against traditional rivals,” director of athletics Rob Spear said.

The same applies for Vandal football’s once again competing in the Sun Belt.

“We look forward to rejoining the Sun Belt Conference and competing in a league that was recently recognized as the best of the ‘Group of Five’ (MAC, MW, CUSA, AEC, Sun Belt) conferences,” Spear said.

Vandal football last played in the Sun Belt in 2004. The Vandals will be competing for the league title with Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe. Idaho opens 2014 league play on Sept. 6 at Louisiana-Monroe. The Sun Belt has ties to four bowls in 2014 and five in 2015. In 2014, the ties are the New Orleans, Camellia, Miami-Beach and GoDaddy.com. The CURE Bowl is added in 2015.

“I’m excited to be playing in a great football conference and competing against some great coaches and players,” football coach Paul Petrino said.

All other sports, except swimming and diving, will see many familiar competitors on their Big Sky schedules. Idaho is one of the six schools that founded the Big Sky Conference. Four of the other original six – Montana, Montana State, Idaho State and Weber State, remain a part of the league. In addition to those four and Idaho, Big Sky members include Cal Poly (football only), Eastern Washington, North Dakota, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, Southern Utah and UC Davis (football only).

"We officially welcome Idaho back to the Big Sky Conference,'' said league commissioner Doug Fullerton, who is beginning his 20th year at the helm of the 51-year-old league. "This is a great day for the Big Sky. Many of our schools are ready to renew rivalries with the Vandals. Idaho is coming off a very successful year in the WAC, and we anticipate the Vandals will be a very strong and competitive member of the Big Sky.''

Additionally, the Vandals’ return to the Big Sky also means a return of men’s golf to the league’s championship offerings. Two schools – Binghamton (New York) and Hartford (Conn.), are men’s golf affiliate members.

Idaho swimming and diving will remain in the Western Athletic Conference as an affiliate member.

  • College

    • Gonzaga's Jordan Mathews takes alternate route to NBA, New Orleans Pelicans

      Jordan Mathews is walking in the footsteps of former Gonzaga teammate Kyle Wiltjer, following the Houston Rocket's path to the NBA. After going undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, Mathews drew attention from three NBA teams about possibly playing for their Summer League team and ultimately chose the New Orleans Pelicans.

    • EWU's Jacob Wiley will join the Brooklyn Nets

      In a way, it was a blessing for former Eastern Washington University basketball player Jacob Wiley not to be chosen in the two rounds of the National Basketball Association Draft in Brooklyn, N.Y.   But he'll wind up in Brooklyn anyway, as the Nets.

    • Gonzaga's Justin Jacobs & Jake Roberts sign pro baseball contracts

      SPOKANE, Wash.—Two more Gonzaga baseball players realized their dreams of signing a professional contract this week as Justin Jacobs signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers and Jake Roberts came to terms with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jacobs enters the pro ranks coming off a strong senior campaign.

    • WATCH: Gonzaga's Zach Collins' path to the NBA through hard work and sacrifice

      Our Sam Adams got a chance to talk with Gonzaga's Zach Collins after he was selected 10th overall in this year's NBA Draft. Collins talks about how his work ethic brought him to the position he's in and how he plans to use that to help the Portland Trailblazers.

    • WATCH: UW's Markelle Fultz talks about being the No. 1 draft pick

      Our Femi Abebefe got a chance to talk with Washington Huskies' Markelle Fultz about being drafted No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. Fultz was the first-ever Husky taken first overall in the NBA Draft and talks about how he plans to help the Philadelphia 76ers this upcoming season.

    • UW becomes 1st school to produce top pick in NBA and WNBA Drafts

      SEATTLE – Following tonight's NBA draft, the University of Washington became the first school to produce the top pick in the NBA and WNBA drafts in the same academic year as Markelle Fultz joined Kelsey Plum as the first overall draft pick.   The duo not only made history as the first tandem of top picks in the WNBA and NBA drafts to come from the same school, but also from the same conference.

    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • IdahoIdahoMore>>

  • LCSC's Gunnar Buhner signs with Philadelphia Phillies

    LCSC's Gunnar Buhner signs with Philadelphia Phillies

    Courtesy: Lewis-Clark State WarriorsCourtesy: Lewis-Clark State Warriors

    LEWISTON, Idaho – The list of Lewis-Clark State College baseball players in the minor leagues continues to grow as Gunnar Buhner has signed a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.   LCSC, which won its third straight Avista NAIA World Series title earlier this month and its 19th overall, had seven players selected in the Major League draft last week. Buhner, the son of former Major League outfielder Jay Buhner, wasn’t sel...

    >>

    LEWISTON, Idaho – The list of Lewis-Clark State College baseball players in the minor leagues continues to grow as Gunnar Buhner has signed a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.   LCSC, which won its third straight Avista NAIA World Series title earlier this month and its 19th overall, had seven players selected in the Major League draft last week. Buhner, the son of former Major League outfielder Jay Buhner, wasn’t sel...

    >>
  • Familiar faces selected on Day 3 of MLB Draft

    Familiar faces selected on Day 3 of MLB Draft

    The Lewis-Clark State Warriors had six players drafted on Day 3 of MLB DraftThe Lewis-Clark State Warriors had six players drafted on Day 3 of MLB Draft

    Day 3 (rounds 11-40) of the MLB Draft concluded today and many familiar faces were selected. The Lewis-Clark State Warriors had six players selected in rounds 11-40 and are coming of their 19th and third consecutive NAIA National Championship. The Washington State Cougars had three players drafted on Day 3 (Jones, Matheny, Nealy), while the Gonzaga Bulldogs had two drafted (Frost, Bohling).

    >>

    Day 3 (rounds 11-40) of the MLB Draft concluded today and many familiar faces were selected. The Lewis-Clark State Warriors had six players selected in rounds 11-40 and are coming of their 19th and third consecutive NAIA National Championship. The Washington State Cougars had three players drafted on Day 3 (Jones, Matheny, Nealy), while the Gonzaga Bulldogs had two drafted (Frost, Bohling).

    >>
  • LCSC’s Brogdon selected by Phillies in 10th round of MLB draft

    LCSC’s Brogdon selected by Phillies in 10th round of MLB draft

    Courtesy: Lewis-Clark State College AthleticsCourtesy: Lewis-Clark State College Athletics

    LEWISTON, Idaho – Connor Brogdon, a 6-foot- senior right-handed pitcher, became only the eighth Lewis-Clark State College baseball player to be drafted in the 10th round or lower since 1999 when the Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the 10th round in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft.

    >>

    LEWISTON, Idaho – Connor Brogdon, a 6-foot- senior right-handed pitcher, became only the eighth Lewis-Clark State College baseball player to be drafted in the 10th round or lower since 1999 when the Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the 10th round in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft.

    >>