BOISE -- 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 Friday also gives school administrators permission to explore membership in the Big Sky Conference for all other Vandal sports teams.
Since 2005, the Vandals have competed in the Western Athletic Conference. But the WAC is in tatters and hurtling toward extinction thanks to a series of defections over the last two years of its best football teams, including Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State.
The WAC's woes forced Vandal officials to pursue alternatives.
UI President Duane Nellis told the board that letting the Vandals join the ranks of independent college football teams is in the best of the school, its students and sports teams.