BOISE, Idaho -- The Idaho State Board of Education has approved letting the University of Idaho begin scheduling and playing college football as an independent.
The board's 5-1 vote on Friday also gives school administrators permission to explore membership in the Big Sky Conference for all other Vandal sports teams, but nothing is a done deal. Idaho has three weeks to make a final decision on whether it would stay independent of go to the Big Sky.
If the Vandals decide to finalize their stance as an independent, the team would receiver $100,000 from the Bowl Championship Series as compensation. The plan would then be to be independent for two years and try to join a different conference after that.
The Vandals announced in Friday's press conference they already have five games under their contract for next year including a game with Washington State. The team also has another 12 games lined up but the paper work still needs to be completed.
Since 2005, the Vandals have competed in the Western Athletic Conference. But the WAC is in tatters and heading toward extinction thanks to a series of defections over the past two years of its best football teams, including Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State.
The WAC's woes forced Vandal officials to pursue alternatives.